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Staro 11-13-2018, 03:02 AM
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Početno New Orleans offense vs. Tampa Bay defense

Saints vs. Buccaneers matchups:The New Orleans Saints begin their 52nd NFL season by opening with a divisional foe Youth Alex Anzalone Jersey , the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this Sunday at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. The Saints are coming off an 11-5 NFC South championship season a year ago, but one that ended in heartbreak with a last second loss to Minnesota in the playoffs. The Buccaneers came into 2017 as a playoff hopeful, but came crashing down to earth with a 5-11 record. The Buccaneers went 2-2 during the preseason, and struggled on the defensive side of the ball, where many predict their downfall to be in 2018, and will also be without starting quarterback Jameis Winston at the beginning of the season. The Saints on the other hand, went 3-1 this preseason, and are considered to be one of the favorites in the NFC, but they will be without top running back Mark Ingram to begin the year. Today we have a look at some of the things to expect from the Saints offense when they open the year against one of their division foes. SAINTS RUSH OFFENSE vs BUCCANEERS RUSH DEFENSE Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty ImagesNew Orleans powered their way to a division championship in part due to a dynamic running game. The Saints finished 5th in the league in rushing last season, 2nd in yards per carry (4.4), and their 23 rushing touchdowns led the NFL. Gone of course, is leading rusher Mark Ingram, who is suspended for the first four games for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Taking over duties as the top back is Alvin Kamara, last year's offensive rookie of the year. Kamara rushed for 728 yards and 8 touchdowns last season on an eye-popping 6.1 yards per carry. He is electric in the open field, but showed the ability to pick up the tough yards between the tackles as well. Hoping that Kamara will not have to carry the full rushing load in Ingram's absence, the team expects that rookie sixth round pick Boston Scott or newly signed veteran Mike Gillislee will be able to provide a change of pace. The Saints offensive line, along with fullback Zach Line, dominated opposing fronts last year in the running game, winning both at the point of attack and providing cutback lanes for their rushers. Left guard Andrus Peat's status for this contest is somewhat in question, as he continues to recover from a broken leg suffered during the playoffs. If Peat can't go, his spot will be taken by the recently re-signed Josh LeRibeus, rookie Will Clapp, or Cameron Tom. Tampa Bay ranked 23rd in the league at defending the run a year ago, surrendering 4.3 yards per rush, and their 17 scores on the ground against them were 30th in the league. They drafted University of Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea with the 12th overall pick of the first round, hoping that he could provide a run-stuffing presence and disruption to couple with Gerald McCoy, one of the league's better interior linemen. Unfortunately, Vea struggled throughout the preseason, missing the last month with a calf injury and putting his availability in doubt. The Bucs also added Beau Allen from the Eagles via free agency this offseason, a solid inside defender. The McCoy/Allen combination will be a handful for opposing offensive linemen, but a question remains if they can hold up during late in games with little depth, especially until Vea returns to form. Tampa also added defensive ends Vinny Curry (Eagles) and Jason Pierre-Paul (Giants) this offseason Color Rush Austin Carr Jersey , but each have functioned more as pass rushers than stout run defenders during their careers. The Buccaneers linebacking corps is among the fastest in the NFC, but can be quickly nullified if the defensive line cannot tie up blockers to free them up to make plays. The Saints offensive line is athletic, and gets to the second level of the defense quickly and can overwhelm opposing linebackers and defensive backs. Kamara in particular was too much for the Buccaneers defense a year ago, accounting for 280 yards from scrimmage and 4 of the Saints 7 touchdowns in the two games against Tampa a year ago. Don't be surprised if New Orleans attacks their division rivals through the air early on, spreading out their secondary with quick passes to Thomas, Kamara, Ginn, Tre'quan Smith, and Cameron Meredith. The Saints must be able to also show that they can still effectively run the ball even without Ingram, and will look to improve on last season's 37.6% 3rd down conversion rate. The New Orleans Saints cannot afford to get off to a slow start to the 2018 season Youth Michael Thomas Jersey , and division games are usually the biggest key to success. The Saints are considered a Super Bowl contender, but face a daunting schedule in a powerful conference. Coach Sean Payton realizes that his squad must come out strong, and typically relies on his prolific offense and future Hall of Fame quarterback to set the tone. In a game when Drew Brees didn't throw a touchdown and NFL leading receiver Michael Thomas was limited to four catches, the New Orleans Saints won with other options — Alvin Kamara and a defense that didn't live up to its much-maligned status.Kamara ran for three second-half touchdowns, Wil Lutz matched his career high with four field goals and the Saints' defense shut down the New York Giants after giving up an early touchdown in a 33-18 win on Sunday."This was a complete game, everything came together," said Kamara, who ran for 134 yards and scored on runs of 9, 4 and 49 yards. "Lutz making big kicks, those were as big as anything. The defense came up big, the O-line did a great job. That was the big difference. You know, the running game has been building. I just get behind those big guys and we get some big runs."The win was the third straight for the Saints (3-1) and it sent the offensively inept Giants to their third loss in four games under new coach Pat Shurmur. New York is averaging just over 20 points — 27 came in the win at Houston — and this was a season low."It seems like it shouldn't be this hard but it is," said New York star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. "We got to come with the energy like our game last week. It's not one person doing this or one person doing that. It's got to be everybody. We've just got to stick together It's definitely not the results we want, the outcome. It's not the way we want to play."If there was a surprise, it was the Saints' defense, which came in ranked 30th in the league. After giving up a 2-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Sterling Shepard on the Giants' opening drive, New Orleans limited New York to a 33-yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas in the third quarter and a late 1-yard TD run by Saquon Barkley , followed by a 2-point conversion pass from Manning to Shepard.The defense allowed only four plays of 20 or more yards after giving up 37 points in an overtime win over Atlanta last weekend."What pressure would there be on us?" said Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan. "There was no place to go but up. We talked about trying to get better as a defense and we take every game as a challenge."The Saints certainly met this challenge.The anticipated shootout between the 39-yard old Brees and the 37-year-old Manning never materialized.Brees, who came in needing 418 yards passing to break Peyton Manning's NFL career mark, finished 18 of 32 for 217 yards. Manning was 31 of 41 for 255 yards as the Giants (1-3) finished with just 299 total yards."We got off to a good start, had a good drive," Manning said. "We thought we're capable of moving the ball and making plays on this team. We just weren't able to do it. "Lutz connected from 42, 34, 37 and 26 in the first half. Kamara stretched the lead to 19-7 with 9-yard run that capped a nine-play, 69-yard drive on New Orleans' opening possession of the second half.The 49-yard run capped a 97-yard drive for the Saints after Ted Ginn Jr. bobbled a kickoff following the Barkley score. The Saints had drives of 74 and 80 on the other touchdowns and finished the game with 392 total yards.Rosas closed the gap to 19-10 in the third quarter, but the Saints took control with Kamara's final two TD runs in the fourth quarter.The Giants had scored on the opening possession with Manning capping a 10-play, 75-yard drive with his short TD pass to Shepard. After that, New York gained 22 yards the rest of the half.TRICK PLAYSSaints coach Sean Payton used backup quarterback Taysom Hill in a number of roles. He completed a 10-yard pass on a fake punt on New Orleans' second possession. It set up Lutz's first field goal. He also threw an incompletion on a red zone pass, had four runs for 28 yards, and returned a kickoff for 16 yards. Coming into the game, he had not thrown a pass and had three rushes for 39 yards.INJURIES:Saints: No injuries were announced.Giants: Beckham finished the first half in the locker room getting an IV. He returned in the second half and finished with seven receptions for 60 yards.UP NEXTSaints: Home against Washington for a Monday night game on Oct. 8.Giants: At Carolina next Sunday.
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