The New Orleans Saints will be hosting the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, looking for their sixth-straight win. On paper, this one seems like it should be an easy win. However, Arizona has won three-straight games and Kyler Murray hasn’t turned the ball over in any of those games. This game also has the possible return of Drew Brees looming around it.
Arizona Cardinals vs New Orleans Saints: Keys For New Orleans
Continue the Running Game
In last week’s win over the Chicago Bears, the Saints got the running game going. Latavius Murray was the workhorse last week. However, there’s the possibility that Alvin Kamara returns after missing last week.
Kamara returning is far from a guarantee, but if he does in fact play, his role will likely be limited. Even at that, he would help the run game perform even better.
Last week the running game kept a lot of pressure off of Teddy Bridgewater. Keeping that run game going will either continue to help Bridgewater or if Brees does end up playing, help ease him back into action.
Keep Kyler Murray in the Pocket
Murray has been an impact player in the run game. If the Saints pass-rush isn’t disciplined and allows Murray to get outside of the pocket, he can do serious damage.
Also, the Cardinals offense is 13th in the league in converting third downs. Allowing Murray to get outside the pocket and throw or scramble will likely put the Cardinals offense in better third-down situations.
However, if the front seven keeps him in the pocket, it increases the chances of putting the Cardinals in longer third-down situations.
If that’s the case, the Saints defense, which ranks eighth in football in third-down defense, can make life tough on Murray.
Most NFL quarterbacks can avoid pressure, but most can’t run like Murray can. This will present a unique challenge to the defense.
Arizona Cardinals vs New Orleans Saints: Keys Continued
With the Saints back in The Dome and facing a rookie quarterback, there’s a great chance to force turnovers. This ties into the above, where if the defense can put the Cardinals in longer third down’s, the likelihood of turnovers increases.
Now Murray hasn’t thrown an interception in three games. However, that doesn’t mean turnovers can’t be forced.
If New Orleans can force turnovers, it will give them short fields, allowing them to score points easier.
Especially if New Orleans can force a couple of turnovers early, it will make Arizona abandon the run game, which ranks 11th in football in yards and yards per carry. However, the Cardinals passing offense is ranked 25th in yards and 22nd in yards per attempt.
So if New Orleans can get an early lead and make Arizona go away from the run game, it will make a huge difference.
Dial-in Field Goals
Wil Lutz had an uncharacteristically bad game last week. He missed two field goals, but kicking in Chicago is much more difficult than kicking in a dome.
Arizona is middle of the pack in the league in not giving up touchdowns in the redzone.
That would make one assume that New Orleans made have to make a field goal or two.
Don’t be concerned about what happened to Lutz last week. He is still one of the better and most reliable kickers in the league. He should get back on track in this one.
Top Photo: Mike Dinovo/USA TODAY Sports