Following a tough loss at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons the week prior, the Houston Texans get their first crack at returning to .500 with a home contest against the New Orleans Saints. Though winnable, this contest will be far from a handout.
Led by 2023 free agent acquisition Derek Carr behind center, New Orleans’s offense has not entirely lived up to expectations thus far, ranking 22nd with 19.2 points per game according to Pro Football Reference. Injuries to the running back room and the suspension of star Alvin Kamara played a role in these struggles, but Kamara has since returned last week and already has a rushing touchdown on the campaign.
Wide receiver Chris Olave is the clear number one option in this offense and will need to be accounted for, but they lack no shortage of weapons. Veteran wideout Michael Thomas, tight end Juwan Johnson, and sophomore Rashid Shaheed will need to be accounted for as well, especially in the intermediate and deep areas of the field.
The New Orleans Saints' defense is its bread and butter and a huge reason why they are 3-2 to start the season. Edge rusher Cameron Jordan continues to age like fine wine. Safety duo Tyrann Mathieu and Marshon Lattimore rank among the top pairings in the NFL and lock down the backend of the defense. On the second level, middle linebacker Demario Davis and WILL Pete Werner pose a legitimate threat in both the ground and passing games.
Simply put, this team does not lack talent defensively and the stats back it up. New Orleans ranks fourth in the entire NFL in points allowed thus far, allowing just over 15 points per game to opposing offenses.
For the Houston Texans to overcome them, figuring out a way to beat that defense will be the first priority. The task will be far from an easy one.