|New Orleans Saints||+3
|New England Patriots||-3
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In Week 2, Saints quarterback Jameis Winston looked like his former Tampa Bay self throwing two interceptions in New Orleans’ 7-26 loss to Carolina, his team managing just 48 total rushing yards and 80 yards passing, committing 11 penalties, shortcomings they best clean up before they take on the Pats in Foxboro.
New England Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones led his team to a 1-1 record after beating the Jets, 25-6, in Week 2, completing 22 of 30 passes for 186 yards with no TDs or INTs, the Patriots dividing their run game between Damien Harris and James White, a production that needs to give the Saints’ top-3 run defense some trouble on Sunday.
These two cross-conference rivals have met each other 14 prior times, with the New England Patriots winning 10 of those games and the New Orleans Saints winning 4 of the games.
After completing 70% of his passes in Week 1, Saints new starting QB Jameis Winston struggled to complete just half of his Week 2 passes in a loss to the Carolina Panthers that included two interceptions, causing some NFL talking heads to wonder if his 2019 habits are dying hard.
That was the season with the Tampa Bay Bucs when Winston famously threw a league-leading 30 interceptions against his 33 touchdown passes, a lack of accuracy that got him fired from that job, the veteran QB eventually hired by the Saints and head coach Sean Payton.
Now the immediate goal for Winston is to quickly recover from his bad Week 2 and take it out on these Patriots and their 6th ranked pass defense, something that, if achieved, could prove that he has indeed moved on from his pick-friendly ways.
Right now, the Patriots are without star cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who is listed as PUP-R and won’t be eligible to return to game action until Week 7, creating a huge gap in New England’s secondary.
Without Gilmore, the job of stopping QB Winston on Sunday goes to cornerbacks Jalen Mills and JC Jackson and safeties Adrian Phillips and Devin McCourty, all talented players capable of snagging Winston’s errant passes as easily as the next man.
This group must also rely on a solid pass rush by DEs Henry Anderson and Deatrich Wise Jr. to force Winston to rush his delivery, something that has proven to be his downfall in past matchups.
Back in June, Saints star receiver Michael Thomas had ankle surgery and has been rehabbing ever since, the playmaker is now able to come off the PUP list after Week 6, and since New Orleans has a bye in Week 6, expect Thomas by Week 7.
In the meantime, the Saints must ‘make do’ with two excellent receivers, Marquez Callaway & Deonte Harris, along with soft-handed tight ends Adam Trautman and Garrett Griffin, all potential playmakers for QB Winston to target in Week 3.
For the Saints to find their second win this Sunday against the Patriots, these young receivers must find a way to get open against a solid defense playing in front of their noisy New England fans.
When Patriots head coach and general manager Bill Belichick released veteran quarterback Cam Newton in the offseason and announced that he would be starting rookie Mac Jones under center, the rest of the league took notice because this was something that the GOAT head coach had never done.
Now his confidence seems valid with Jones posting some impressive opening numbers, his Patriots 1-1 after the rookie completed almost 74 percent of his passes for a touchdown and no interceptions in the two games in which he has started.
Watch for Jones to have a big game at home, these Gillette Stadium crowds known to be loud while the defense is on the field and helpfully quiet for their own Pats offense, outside help that the rookie will lean on as he faces a Saints team that has one of the league’s top ten best defenses.
|Saints vs Patriots Information|
|Teams||New Orleans Saints vs New England Patriots|
|Location||Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA|
|Time||Sunday, September 26, 2021; 1:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||FOX|
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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