The New Orleans Saints are 1-2 and could potentially fall to 1-3 if they don't bring their A-game to London this weekend. The Minnesota Vikings have notoriously had the Saints' number in recent years but the last time we saw these teams square off, New Orleans had the last laugh.
It's a whole different team in the Big Easy now though. Drew Brees retired, Sean Payton is gone, and now the team is being led by Dennis Allen and Jameis Winston. So far, we're off to a not-so-impressive start with Winston throwing five picks in three games while the rest of the offense struggles to do anything.
The defense has been the highlight but there's only so much they can do when the offense isn't doing its part. The Vikings will be a tough test for the Saints. Does Madden think the Saints can buck the trend of losing and get back into the winner's column?
Madden Sim Week 4: Saints 14, Vikings 24
The Saints opt to receive the ball first to try and start the game quickly but it backfires badly on them, as Winston throws a pick just three plays later. Cameron Dantzler is the one who picks off Winston and sets the Vikings up in an immediate goal-to-go situation. It doesn't take long from there for Dalvin Cook (who played in this sim despite the injury) to power his way into the end zone, giving the Vikings a 7-0 lead before anyone can blink.
New Orleans goes 3-and-out on their next drive but fortunately, the Vikings' next drive stalls as well so the Saints quickly get the ball back. After a promising drive that starts off with a Winston bomb to Chris Olave for 48 yards, Wil Lutz misses a 37-yard field goal and the Saints enter the second quarter with a goose egg on the board.
The Vikings strike again early in the second quarter when Kirk Cousins connects with Justin Jefferson on an 82-yard bomb to put the team in purple up 14-0. Jefferson evades a couple of Saints defenders and runs the ensuing 60 yards to the end zone.
Olave helps get the Saints in field goal range once again after he makes a crazy catch that goes for 53 yards. Taysom Hill then breaks off a huge run to give NOLA a goal-to-go situation. Alvin Kamara, public enemy No. 1 to the Vikings, then dashes in from 6 yards out to cut the lead to 14-7.
After the half, the Vikings look to be close to scoring but Cousins throws a bad pick right into the waiting arms of Pete Werner. The former second-round pick gets a nice return on the pick and the Saints are in business!
Once again, Olave strikes fear into the hearts of Vikings fans with a 17-yard touchdown grab. We're tied up at 14 and while this might seem exciting, it's all downhill from the Saints after this.
Dalvin Cook breaks off a huge run on the Vikings' ensuing drive and four players later, Cousins hits K.J. Osborn in the end zone on a 9-yard touchdown. Any momentum the Saints had is evaporated, much like their real-life loss to Carolina on Sunday.
While Winston leads a promising drive to kick off the fourth quarter, he throws another pick that leads to a 34-yard field goal by Greg Joseph. The 24-14 score ends up being the final and in this sim, the Saints fall to 1-3.
Olave is obviously the star, finishing with 156 yards off of 7 catches and a touchdown (which would be his first as a pro if this were in real life). Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry were active in this game and Thomas ended with four grabs for 45 yards while Landry had just one catch for 43 yards.
Kamara rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown while hauling in another 34 off of two catches. He popped off a big catch and run in the first half, which got him most of those yards. Ingram had six rushes for 13 yards.
Defensively, Werner led the team in tackles with 13 and had the key interception in the third quarter. Marcus Davenport sacked Cousins 1.5 times while David Onyemata got in on the action with a sack of his own. Marshon Lattimore had two pass breakups.
As for Winston, he finished the game with 302 yards through the air, one touchdown, and two interceptions while getting sacked three times.
Hopefully this sim isn't what actually happens. We want to see a New Orleans Saints win!