On to Week 3. After two heart-breaking losses to open the season, the 0-2 New Orleans Saints are heading home for their first regular season game of the 2014 season in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. They opened the season on the road at Atlanta, then at Cleveland, losing both games on last second field goals. While offense was not to blame in Week 1, they didn’t look quite as good last week. Still, though, the Saints come in to the third week of the season ranked 3rd in the NFL in total offense, gaining an average of 434.5 yards through their first two games. Despite being 0-2, they come in as the 2nd best team in terms of scoring offense, averaging 29 points per game in the losses. How are they win-less, you ask? Key turnovers and defense is your answer. We’ll talk more about the latter in the next preview, but today we’ll discuss why the Saints have to cut down on the giveaways.
The Minnesota Vikings will be traveling to New Orleans coming off of a dismal performance in their home opener last week, losing to the New England Patriots by the score of 30-7. The Vikings are 1-1, winning their season opener on the road against the St. Louis Rams. Minnesota’s defense has played pretty well, while it’s been their offense that has struggled. They rank 7th in the league in total defense, giving up 305 yards per game. They are also top-10 in scoring defense, sitting tied for 8th, allowing 18 points per game. Minnesota has a lot of young talent on their defensive unit, which is made up of five former 1st round picks. All of them were drafted by Minnesota, with four of them (Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes, Shariff Floyd, and Anthony Barr) all coming from the past three NFL drafts. Chad Greenway is the fifth former 1st round pick, coming from the 2006 draft class.
The Saints and Vikings are fairly familiar with each other during the Sean Payton era. Coach Payton has faced off with Minnesota four times, with one of them being the second most important game he’s ever coached in his life. As you can recall, the Saints welcomed the then Brett Favre-led Vikings to the Superdome in January of 2010 for the NFC Championship game. Without letting the excitement of that game get me rambling too much, Garrett Hartley helped the team make history, kicking a 40 yard field goal in overtime to send the Saints to their first Superbowl. New Orleans has won their last three match-ups with Minnesota, that game being one of them, with the last meeting being a 42-20 Saints victory in the now retired Metrodome. Despite the recent string of success, the Saints trail the Vikings 20-10 in the all-time series. Continue reading