Posted on October 05, 2018, by Travis Pulver
The New Orleans Saints appeared to find a much-needed defense finally last season. But there run ended in the divisional round. When this season kicked off, it is safe to say they set their sights a little further. However, while they are 3-1, the solid defensive unit from last season has yet to reemerge.
Washington entered the season with a new sense of hope after signing Alex Smith and drafting Derrius Guice. But Guice was lost in the preseason to a season-ending injury. That left the door open for Joe Mixon but he’s had injury issues as well.
Enter a rejuvenated Adrian Peterson.
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But the real strength of the Redskins so far this season has been their defense. Can it withstand the might of Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, though? Or has it benefitted from its schedule so far and isn’t really that good?
Most eyes will be on the New Orleans Saints for this one. People are going to want to see Drew Brees set the new career passing mark. The return of running back Mark Ingram will have Saints fans taking notice as well. Maybe with him back in the fold, the run game can become more productive and they will not have to lean on the passing game as much.
But circumstances could force the Saints to forego the run game once again. The Redskins have the toughest defense in the NFL at this point in the season (No. 1 overall; No. 1 in passing yards allowed; No. 3 in rushing yards allowed; No. 2 in points allowed).
However, while the stats are intimidating, the Redskins have only played three games. One was against a terrible Cardinals team, the other against the Colts, and the third against the Green Bay Packers. With a sample size that small, anyone can look formidable.
If Washington’s defense ends up being legit, the Saints offense could be in for a long night. But if the Saints can wake up their defense, it might not be that bad. They may be in luck facing an offense like Washington’s.
It’s not that Alex Smith has done a bad job. But the Redskins just haven’t looked good. They should have been much effective against a dismal Cardinals team. Indianapolis embarrassed them. But then the looked great against the Packers.
Which version of the Redskins offense is going to show up?
Washington’s defense is not going to play poorly, but they will be exposed a little bit. Look for them to have some success slowing down the run game and Drew Brees—but not a ton. Expect Brees to have a good night but not a great one. Alex Smith will have a solid game against the Saints defense but whether they can win will depend on how well Adrian Peterson can run.
But who’s going to win?
Look for the game to be a close one with the teams separated by one score heading into the fourth quarter. If they already haven’t at that time, the Saints will abandon the run and let Brees pass the team to victory.
The Saints are favored by 6.5 points. They’ll win the game and cover the spread.