New Orleans Saints: Most Critical Matchups vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday's game should be an interesting one. The New Orleans Saints are 0-2 this season—they haven't had a bad start like this since the '07 season when they dropped their first four. But their record doesn't tell the whole story.
The Saints are a better team than that. Most of their players that were on last season's 13-3 team returned.
The Saints offense isn't the problem, they have scored 59 points through two games so far. They have the weapons to put up the points.
Their defense is a different story. The Saints defense has allowed 75 points, the highest in the league.
This Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs at home is an important one. Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel doesn't have the same athleticism that Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton have, but the Saints have other matchups to worry about.
Let's take a look at some important matchups the Saints need to win that may help them avoid an 0-3 start.
Saints Defense vs. Chiefs Run Game
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The Saints are last in the league in run defense, giving up an average of 186 yards per game on the ground. The defense should be concerned with the Chiefs' running game.
The Chiefs are fifth in the league in rushing yards, averaging 151 yards per game, so Kansas City may have a run-heavy game plan to take advantage of a weak Saints defense. The defense will have their hands full with Jamaal Charles and rookie running back Shaun Draughn, who is averaging 7.7 yards per carry
The defense must step up and slow down the Chiefs' running backs. If not, it could mean another long day for the Saints defense.
Saints' Front-Four Defensive Linemen vs. Matt Cassel
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As was the story the entire offseason and the first couple of weeks of the 2012 NFL season, the Saints' front-four defensive linemen have to produce and put some pressure on the quarterback.
Cassel is a good quarterback and has the weapons to hurt you if he has the time. The defense must get some hits and a few sacks in order to disrupt the Chiefs offense and not allow them to control the pace of the game.
New Orleans Saints Offense vs. Themselves
Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE
We all witnessed what the New Orleans Saints offense can do when they were firing on all cylinders last season. They were near unstoppable.
Through two games, the offensive unit has shown that scoring is no problem. Their passing game is ranked third in the league. But there have been a lot of errors that hurt their momentum in the game. They have had key dropped passes in the end zone, and some interceptions.
Take those errors away and the Saints could be looking at a different record.
Saints Running Game vs. Chiefs Defense
John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE
With stars like Drew Brees, Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham, it's no secret the Saints can and will throw the ball a lot. But the Chiefs run defense is near last place in the league through two games. They have allowed 142.5 yards per game.
The Saints have enough talent at the running back position to run the ball more than they have and do some damage. The Chiefs are expecting the Saints to throw, and throw a lot, so the Saints should go in with a more balanced attack and run the ball more often to dictate the pace of the game.
If the Saints are able to successfully run the ball, it will open up their passing game, making it more potent.
With backs like Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas, the Saints should be able to gain a lot of yardage through the ground.
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