The New Orleans Saints (4-4) will look to keep their playoff hopes afloat in Week 10 of the NFL season when the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos (6-3) come to town. The Broncos are currently battling for the top spot in a very competitive AFC West while the Saints will look to gain ground on the Atlanta Falcons (6-3), who currently lead the NFC South.
The Saints currently boast one of the most high octane offenses in football as Drew Brees once again has reminded us of how good he can still be, even in the later stages of his career. He has already thrown for 2,688 yards and connected on 21 touchdown passes this season. Brees’ relentless dissection of opposing defenses has led to an average of 326.4 passing yards per game, good for first in the league. The Saints currently rank second with 30.2 points per contest, and have averaged over 400 yards of total offense on a weekly basis.
The emergence of rookie wide receiver Michael Thomas out of Ohio State has given Brees another deadly passing option to complement Brandin Cooks, one of the fastest receivers in football. Both receivers have recorded 40+ receptions this year for 573 and 596 yards respectively with 5 touchdowns apiece. Willie Snead and tight end Coby Fleener have also gotten in on the action to combine for another 800+ yards between the two. With so many options for Drew Brees to target, opposing defenses have had almost no luck slowing them down.
This should make for the quite the match up as the Denver Broncos currently rank first in the NFL allowing just 183.3 passing yards per game. Starting cornerback Aqib Talib would normally draw the assignment of either Michael Thomas or Brandin Cooks, but Talib is expected to miss his third game in a row with a back injury. The Broncos will also be without starting defensive end Derek Wolfe, which means linebackers Von Miller and Brandon Marshall will likely have to become more involved in the pass rush.
The Broncos offense has been anemic at best, but they draw a Saints defense that ranks close to the bottom in every major defensive category, allowing almost 30 points and over 400 yards of total offense per game. New Orleans will likely have a tough time defending the intimidating receiver tandem of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. As rookie quarterback Trevor Siemian continues to improve, these two should start to see an uptick in production.
The matchup between young cornerback Delvin Breaux and either of these two high profile receivers will be one of the keys to the Saints’ success. If they can keep Denver off the board, Drew Brees and company should be able to put up enough points to steal the home victory.
There is no question that the offense is capable of putting up monster numbers, but these expectations should be tempered a bit considering Denver’s defensive prowess. This game will ultimately come down to the battle between Brees and the Denver secondary.