The New Orleans Saints will be facing off against the Arizona Cardinals this afternoon at 1:00 p.m. ET, and it should be a high-scoring game between two teams that are a lot better at throwing the football than they are at running it. The Saints will be facing a Cardinals defense that allows just 2.6 yards per carry, while the Saints average a paltry 3.1 YPC on their own. However, the Cardinals are 26th in the NFL with 7.6 yards per pass play allowed, while Drew Brees nailed 341 yards on the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1 and tore up Darrelle Revis, Dashon Goldson, and Co. in Week 2 to the tune of 296 passing yards.
Drew Brees is headed for a monster game against the Arizona Cardinals, because this game should end up being a shootout (the Cardinals average 3.4 yards per carry and have thrown the ball 80 times this year, while Drew Brees has attempted 81 passes for the Saints). Patrick Peterson will most likely shut down whoever is on his side of the field, but the Saints should be able to clearly win the battle in the middle of the field. Marques Colston should have a big game, but especially close eyes should be on Jimmy Graham.
We all remember how Jared Cook knifed through the Cardinals defense in Week 1, and the Cardinals D is headed for a repeat performance here in Week 3 against Jimmy Graham. The Cardinals have likely made coverage adjustments since then in order to better stop athletic TEs, but Graham is a whole new beast and is significantly better than Cook. Graham is the league’s best TE right now with Rob Gronkowski out, and he is also the focal point of the Saints offense with a team-leading 14 receptions for 224 yards and two touchdowns. Not only does Graham average 16 yards per catch, but he is also putting up seven catches, a touchdown, and 112 yards per game right now.
Jimmy Graham and Drew Brees aren’t the only players on the New Orleans Saints offense, specifically passing offense, to watch for, because I also think Darren Sproles is well-worth watching. He’s definitely worth starting in standard leagues right now, because he is second on the team with 12 receptions for 124 yards.
Beyond that, the shifty pass-catching RB has a favorable matchup against the Cardinals, because they allowed a combined eight catches for 85 yards against Joique Bell and Reggie Bush last week. Heck, they even allowed Daryl Richardson to haul in five passes in Week 1. Sproles is even faster than those guys, and the Cardinals had better watch out if Jasper Brinkley has to line up in coverage against Darren Sproles. Karlos Dansby is the best Cardinals LB in coverage, and even he is decent at best. The Cards LBs don’t match up well at all with Sproles in coverage, and they especially don’t match up well against Jimmy Graham in coverage either.
Brees should be in for 300 passing yards and three TDs, Graham should once again get over 100 receiving yards, and I think we’ll see Sproles get something like 60 yards of receiving.