August 4, 2020

Redskins Week 10 Game Preview: vs. New Orleans Saints

The Washington Redskins return home after a one-sided road loss to face the up-and-down roller coaster ride that is the New Orleans Saints. Washington put forth a feeble effort against the mighty Patriots last week, dropping 7 balls and committing costly turnovers, all while allowing LeGarrette Blount to run all over them and Tom Brady to slice them up in the passing game. The Saints are also coming off an embarrassing loss to the lowly Tennessee Titans at home, a game in which they allowed Titans rookie Marcus Mariota to throw for 371 yards and 4 TDs.

The Saints had won three straight games to move to 4-4 before that game behind their powerful offense, but now sit at 4-5 looking to sniff .500 again. The Redskins sit at 3-5 but are a stellar 3-1 this season at FedEx Field, and they look to make that mark 4-1 this week.

The Saints are led, as usual, by the great Drew Brees. While Brees has gotten up there in age, he has still shown flashes of that high-flying Sean Payton offense that won them a Super Bowl back in 2009.  Helped by a 505-yard, 7 TD performance two weeks ago vs. the Giants, he is averaging 325 yards per game with 18 passing TDs on the year. Helping their cause is Mark Ingram, who has 900 all-purpose yards thus far this season and has finally become the all-around back the Saints have wanted.

The real story with the Saints, however, is their abysmal defense. The Saints are ranked 31st in the NFL, allowing almost 415 yards and 30 points per game. They have allowed Eli Manning and Marcus Mariota to combine for 10 passing TDs in the past two games, so this is a perfect opportunity for Kirk Cousins to shine and the offense to get on track after a dud against the Patriots. Washington especially needs to get the running game back on track, and the Saints’ average of 122 yards allowed per game could help Matt Jones, Alfred Morris, and Chris Thompson start producing like they did earlier in the season.

Key Matchups

Redskins Secondary vs. Drew Brees

The Redskins’ secondary looks like it will be as healthy as it has been all season this week. CB DeAngelo Hall expects to play, along with his two fellow banged-up CBs, Bashaud Breeland and Chris Culliver. Hopefully having all three of these guys will help against one of the most accurate passers of all time, Drew Brees.

Brees does not have that patented number one guy to throw to like he has in the past with Jimmy Graham and a younger Marques Colston. However, he still has talent to throw to, including young WRs Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead, along with Colston, TE Benjamin Watson, and RBs Mark Ingram and C.J Spiller out of the backfield. With the defense that New Orleans plays, holding Brees to under 300 yards and maybe a TD or two should be enough.

Redskins’ RBs vs. Saints Run Defense

Much has been discussed about the Redskins’ historically bad running game the last four games. Washington backs have run for a pitiful 172 yards over those four contests and have not gotten anything going. It is a wonder how Kirk Cousins has even played halfway decent without any run game. They must get out to a fast start on the ground against the Saints, because if they have to play catch-up with the Saints and Brees, they will have to throw the ball, and throw it a lot.

Having a strong run game will make the Saints’ awful pass defense even more awful. Matt Jones looked as if he was starting to find something last week, but he fumbled at midfield early in the 3rd quarter and the Redskins had to throw to try and catch up. Running plays early and often and the Redskins should be in business.

Redskins’ Front 7 vs. RB Mark Ingram

Ingram has been a catalyst for the Saints’ offense, serving as the primary back in Coach Payton’s offense. The former Heisman Trophy winner has a great combination of speed, athleticism, and power, and the Redskins cannot allow him to do to them what backs like LeGarrette Blount, Devonta Freeman, and Chris Ivory did against them in recent weeks.

NT Terrance Knighton is back from his migraine issues, and rumor has it that ILB Will Compton will be starting over Perry Riley, Jr. Hopefully the run defense can return to their early-season success and hold Ingram to a low offensive output. That will put more pressure on the Saints’ inexperienced receivers, and give Washington a strong advantage.

Redskins’ “Stud” of the Week

RB Matt Jones

Jones has to respond to his critics and put together a great game without a costly fumble. Jones is expected to get most of the carries and if he runs hard and gets the most out of every yard, the holes should open up for him. Look for 100 yards of all-purpose yards and no turnovers from the rookie this week.

Staff Predictions

Seamus Kane: Redskins 34, Saints 31

The Redskins have a habit of disappointing in these types of games, but I think Cousins & co. can outscore the Saints and force a turnover or two to put things away. Washington is a much better team at home, and it should show.

Neil Dalal: Redskins 37, Saints 30

This one could be really high scoring. The Saints have one of the best quarterbacks in the league but worst defenses. It is a must win for both sides and I’ll give the advantage to the home team.

About Seamus Kane

Seamus Kane is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins and Wizards. A native of Silver Spring, MD, Seamus grew up in the area all his life rooting for the Redskins, Nationals, Wizards, Caps, and Terps. He graduated from the University of Maryland in 2014 with a degree in American History and now lives in Washington, DC. His favorite DC sports legend is Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green, and his favorite DC sports moment was Ryan Zimmerman's walk-off in the first-ever game at Nationals Park, a game which he attended. You can follow Seamus on Twitter @ShamelessKane

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