The New Orleans will be taking a road trip to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 3. This will be the first game that New Orleans will play in without Drew Brees under center, following the injury to his thumb.
The Saints are coming off a 27-9 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 2, in a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship Game. It was a devastating loss, but the biggest loss was Brees leaving the game in the first half after his hand collided with Aaron Donald.
With the loss, New Orleans has fallen to 1-1 through the first two weeks of the season. On the other hand, Seattle has gotten off to a quick start by winning its first two games against the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Seahawks may have won their first two games, but they’ve won by a combined three points.
That said, here are four reasons why the Saints will beat the Seahawks in Week 3.
4. Saints’ Pass Rush Has Been Outstanding
After two weeks this season, the Saints have the most sacks (nine) by a team which hasn’t played in Week 3. The Jacksonville Jaguars have 13 of them after sacking Marcus Mariota nine times on Thursday night.
Despite being without Sheldon Rankins, New Orleans has been able to consistently force pressure on opposing quarterbacks. We all know how talented Cameron Jordan is, but Marcus Davenport and Trey Hendrickson have been key contributors as well.
The Seahawks have struggled to protect Russell Wilson this season, allowing eight sacks (tied for fourth-most in NFL). If Seattle is unable to keep Wilson upright, it will have a tough time getting the offense in rhythm.
3. Michael Thomas is Still Elite
After Brees went down with an injury last Sunday, there were people who believed Michael Thomas would see fewer targets in the offense. That wasn’t true at all, with Thomas garnering 11 targets when Teddy Bridgewater replaced Brees under center.
Overall, the All-Pro receiver’s numbers weren’t great with 10 receptions for just 89 yards, but the volume was there. By getting a week in practice with Bridgewater and Taysom Hill, Thomas should be more comfortable catching passes from them.
Just because Brees isn’t throwing him the ball, it doesn’t mean Thomas will become nonexistent in the passing attack. On the contrary, he should thrive against a Seahawks defense that has surrendered the seventh-most passing yards in the NFL this season.
2. Seattle Has Little to No Tape on Bridgewater/Hill
Again, with Brees being out an extended period of time, Sean Payton is forced to start Bridgewater or Hill at quarterback. The veteran head coach has been reluctant to name an official starter and said both will see some time under center.
Therefore, the Seahawks don’t have much tape to watch to prepare their defense for the new-look Saints offense. Since 2017, Bridgewater and Hill have combined to start in just one game in New Orleans.
In light of that, Payton could incorporate new concepts in his offensive scheme that use his other quarterbacks’ skill sets. Bridgewater and the do-it-all Hill are slightly more mobile than a 40-year-old Brees.
1. Alvin Kamara, Alvin Kamara, and Alvin Kamara
The Saints may be without their starting quarterback but they have arguably the most dangerous offensive weapon in the NFL in Alvin Kamara. An experienced coach like Payton knows that his best chance of winning on Sunday comes from utilizing Kamara heavily in his game plan.
The electric running back struggled versus the Rams alongside Bridgewater, with just 60 yards from scrimmage. However, Kamara (like Thomas) has had this week to build some chemistry with the backup quarterbacks.
Over the course of his first 33 games in the NFL, Kamara has caught 170 passes for 1,622 yards. The Seahawks will likely give the responsibility of shadowing Kamara to Bobby Wagner. Wagner is arguably the best linebacker in the NFL, but covering the Saints’ running back is easier said than done.