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Youth Manti Te'o Jersey
« on: August 09, 2019, 04:40:27 AM »
Will a slumping Saints offense rebound at home against a confident Pittsburgh defense?"The New Orleans Saints play a home game for the first time in December after three straight games on the road. They now host the AFC North leading Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday Morten Andersen Jersey 2019 , in a pivotal contest for both teams. The Saints have had some struggles offensively in recent weeks, failing to score a first half touchdown in each of the last three contests and averaging just 17 points in those three games. New Orleans still ranks second in the league in points scored, averaging 32.8 per game, while their 386 yards of total offense per outing ranks 7th. They take on a Steelers defense that ranks 9th in the league, surrendering 334 yards per game, but give up 22.6 points per outing, ranking 15th. The New Orleans offense is usually much more dynamic at home, and today we look at how they match up against the Steel Curtain defense. SAINTS PASS OFFENSE vs. STEELERS PASS DEFENSE Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty ImagesSaints passing game has produced 259 yards per game to rank 11th, unfamiliar ground for a Sean Payton coached team that normally is at the top of the league. Quarterback Drew Brees has been efficient, completing nearly 75% of his passes with 31 touchdowns and 5 interceptions while throwing for 3,666 yards. He has five 300-yd. games this season, but none in the last month. Brees and his passing game have been in a monthlong slump, averaging just 176 yards through the air over the past four games. The New Orleans passing attack has two of the most difficult weapons to contain in the league with third year wideout Michael Thomas and second year running back Alvin Kamara, but have gotten very little consistency from any of their other receivers. Michael Thomas has 8 touchdown receptions, and leads the NFL with 109 receptions, breaking his own franchise record, while his 1,267 receiving yards are just 132 away from surpassing Joe Horn for the single season team record. Kamara, one of the most versatile running backs in the league, has caught 77 passes for 627 yards and 4 scores. The two have been responsible for well over 50% of the team's aerial production, but New Orleans will likely need another receiving threat to be effective in the playoffs. Tight end Benjamin Watson is third on the team in receptions (32) for 365 yards and two touchdowns. He has the trust of his quarterback in key situations, but the veteran is no longer effective on a weekly basis. Rookie wideout Tre'Quan Smith is loaded with gamebreaking potential. He has two 100-yd receiving games this season to go along with his 24 catches for 386 yards and four scores, but has not been a consistent threat and has struggled with drops and positioning. Undrafted rookie Keith Kirkwood is a physical wideout with the athleticism to challenge defenses, and has worked his way into favor with 11 receptions for 174 yards and 2 touchdowns in just six games of action. Tight ends Josh Hill and Dan Arnold have had some nice moments, and have combined for 26 catches for 334 yards and two scores. Brees' targets have had difficulty getting separation from coverage in recent weeks, and the extra time it takes to get open has allowed the opposing pass rush to create pressure. Six of the year's 15 sacks on Brees have occurred in the last four games A.J. Klein Jersey Stitched , and the additional pressure has forced the Hall of Fame quarterback into mistakes. Brees has thrown only five interceptions this season, but four of them have come in the past four contests. Left tackle Terron Armstead has missed the last five games with a pectoral injury, but seems poised to return in time for the playoffs, perhaps this week against Pittsburgh. His replacement, Jermon Bushrod, has struggled in pass protection, and left last week's win over Carolina with a hamstring injury that has him questionable this week. The Saints moved left guard Andrus Peat over to tackle to finish the game, but Peat is much more effective inside. Another injury to watch is center Max Unger, who suffered a concussion against the Panthers. He was replaced by Cameron Tom, but the team has brought in linemen for tryouts this week to prepare for a possible shuffle in protection if Armstead or Unger can't go. Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty ImagesQuestions along the New Orleans offensive line could spell disaster against a Steelers defense that has 46 sacks on the year. Pittsburgh's pass defense ranks 13th in the league, giving up around 237 yards per game. They win when they get pressure up front, particularly from the edge. T.J. Watt leads the team with 11 sacks, and his four forced fumbles are indicative of the havoc he creates on opposing offenses. He is complimented at the other edge by Bud Dupree and his 5.5 sacks, and both players benefit from standout play by the linemen in front of them. Defensive end Cam Heyward, son of former Saints running back Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, has added six takedowns, while Javon Hargrave (6.5 sacks) and Stephon Tuitt (4) have given the Steelers a disruptive presence inside. The ability of Pittsburgh to get pressure without blitzing has allowed them to fortify some early season breakdowns in coverage in the secondary. The Steelers have only 7 interceptions on the year though, and have allowed some running room in the middle of the field after the catch. Cornerback Joe Haden is their best coverage player, and will most likely be matched up against Michael Thomas in man to man situations, but Pittsburgh's secondary has lacked a playmaking presence. Corners Mike Hilton, Artie Burns, and Coty Sensabaugh, along with safeties Sean Davis, Morgan Burnett, and rookie first rounder Terrell Edmunds are best suited at keeping the play in front of them, rather than matching up in one on one coverage. The Pittsburgh safeties and linebackers have been vulnerable against opposing tight ends and running backs at times Youth Ted Ginn Jersey , although they managed to control nemesis Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots a week ago, and some coverage schemes have even had their linebackers cover opposing wideouts in intermediate man coverage.Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports~ Matchup to Watch: Saints offensive tackles vs. Steelers edge rushers ~The Steelers held Tom Brady and the Patriots to under 300 yards passing last week. Although they played well in coverage, the primary reason for their success was due to the pressure they put on Brady. Pittsburgh can pressure the passer with a variety of players, and the Saints line has struggled to protect Brees in recent weeks. Armstead's return could be a giant boost, but the team may choose to save him for the playoff run. When at full strength, the New Orleans line held formidable pass rushes like the Rams, Vikings, and Eagles, among others, at bay to allow Brees to flourish. SAINTS RUN OFFENSE vs. STEELERS RUN DEFENSE Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesThe 8th ranked New Orleans rushing attack averages 127 yards per game. Alvin Kamara leads the team with 860 yards on the ground, averaging 4.6 per carry and scoring 12 touchdowns, second best in the NFL. Mark Ingram has contributed 582 yards and five scores, while averaging 4.8/attempt, and is only 152 rushing yards and one touchdown away from passing Deuce McAllister as the Saints all-time leader in both categories. This is the most dangerous 1-2 punch in the league at the position, and each are capable of picking up the tough yardage inside or breaking big plays in the open field. The New Orleans line has brutalized opponents much of the year, and has paved the way for a league leading 22 rushing touchdowns. Although the entire line have been road graders for their talented backs, the team prefers to run over their right side, where guard Larry Warford and Ryan Ramczyk have had Pro Bowl worthy years. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesPittsburgh allows 97 yards per game rushing, ranking 6th in the NFL. Inside linebackers Vince Williams, Jon Bostic, and L.J. Fort, along with safety Edmunds, are extremely active and effective in pursuit, while the Steelers defensive line stuffs the inside rush regularly. Only four opponents have gained over 100 rushing yards against Pittsburgh, but the Jaguars, Broncos Ted Ginn Jersey Stitched , and Chargers have all run the ball effectively against them over the last month. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports~ Matchup to Watch: Peat/Unger/Warford vs. Hargrave/Heyward/Tuitt ~Despite the injuries up front, the Saints still rushed for 155 yards against a top ranked Panthers run defense. The team needs to win the battles inside to not only provide a clean pocket for Brees, but open up cutback lanes for Ingram and Kamara. The Steelers linebackers have struggled with elusive backs in the open field, but flourish when their linemates win the point of attack, leaving them free for pursuit or to finish plays in the backfield. WHAT TO LOOK FOR:Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty ImagesThe Saints passing attack has averaged 312 yards in games played at home, as opposed to just 218 yards through the air when they play on the road. The Pittsburgh defense is not designed for alot of man to man coverage. They instead prefer playing off the ball, ideally forcing opposing receivers to work through traffic in hopes that their pass rush can get to the quarterback first. The Saints receivers play well in intermediate zones, and if the line can hold up Brees is a master at carving up such coverage schemes. New Orleans often likes to take deep shots early in home games, but the onus will again be on the team's wideouts to gain separation, particularly on a quick rhythm passing attack that they are expected to employ. The Saints have been able to run the ball effectively in nearly every game, but the banged up offensive must be able to establish dominance for coach Sean Payton to maintain confidence in his playcalling. Kamara, Ingram, and the tight ends could play a key role in the passing game against a Steelers defense that has struggled against the positions. Pittsburgh has also not played well against physical running games, so New Orleans will likely try to establish balance immediately, but look for downfield shots early against their secondary and to slow the Steelers outside rush. It’s never been easier to score in the NFL.At the midpoint of the season, the league is on pace to set records for most points, touchdowns and touchdown passes in a single season. Teams have scored 6,440 points, 736 touchdowns and 473 TDs in the air through Week 9.The increase in offensive production follows the lowest-scoring season this decade. Teams averaged 21.7 points per game in 2017. That’s up to 24 points this season. A total of 12 teams are averaging at least 27.5 points per game led by the Chiefs (36.3), Saints (34.9) and Rams (33.2).There are several reasons scoring has soared. A combination of new rules and rule adjustments over the past few years favor offenses. The league has banned helmet-to-helmet contact, implemented a defenseless receiver rule and a body-weight rule against players making sacks, outlawed low hits on quarterbacks and emphasized illegal contact penalties.There’s also been an influx of innovative, offensive-minded coaches — Sean McVay, Doug Pederson, Kyle Shanahan — and talented young quarterbacks — Patrick Mahomes, Carson Wentz Youth Manti Te'o Jersey , Jared Goff, among others.Five quarterbacks — Mahomes, Goff, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers — are on pace to throw for 5,000 yards. That only happened nine times previously in league history. Ten QBs have a passer rating over 100, double the total last season.Games are not only featuring more scoring but there’s been plenty of close, down-to-the-wire action. Seventy-one games were decided by one score, eight points or less. That’s the fifth-most through nine weeks. Thirty-seven games have been decided by a field goal, which was fourth-most at this point. Ten games have reached overtime and 36 teams have rallied to win or tie after trailing in the fourth quarter or overtime.Close, high-scoring games are exciting for fans, especially the millions who spend billions of dollars to play fantasy football. All of it is good for the league’s television ratings, which are up after declining in 2016 and 2017.More folks are also watching by live streaming. According to a recent study from Conviva, a real-time measurement platform, NFL live viewing was up 72 percent in plays and 83 percent in viewing hours over the same time frame last year.Conviva’s data shows mobile NFL plays were up 95 percent and prime-time NFL saw 109 percent growth in plays and 97 percent growth in viewing hours.Here’s a look inside the numbers from the first half:PASSING KING: Drew Brees broke Peyton Manning’s record for career passing yards last month. Brees has 72,781 yards passing and counting. Manning had 71,940.KICKING KING: Adam Vinatieri broke Morten Anderson’s record for most points and most field goals. Vinatieri has 2,550 points and 573 field goals. Anderson had 2,544 points and 565 field goals.THE 500 CLUB: Brees and Tom Brady joined Manning and Brett Favre as the only players to throw 500 TD passes. Brees has 506, one more than Brady. Manning had 539 and Favre had 508.PATRICK THE GREAT: Mahomes has 29 TD passes and 3,185 yards passing yards, the most in both categories through the first 10 games of a player’s career. He also has thrown for at least 300 yards in eight straight games, one away from setting the record he currently shares with Andrew Luck.THIELEN’S CHASE: Adam Thielen became the first player to have eight 100-yard receiving games to start a season, tying Calvin Johnson for the longest streak of such games. The former undrafted wide receiver has 78 catches for the Vikings. He’s on pace to challenge Marvin Harrison’s single-season record of 143.GURLEY GETS IN: Todd Gurley has 16 touchdowns — 12 rushing and four receiving — for the Rams. He’s on pace for 28. The record is 31 by Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson.KIRK COMPLETIONS: Kirk Cousins became the first player to complete at least 30 passes in four consecutive games. Before the season, Cousins became the first player to sign a fully guaranteed contract when the Vikings gave him $84 million for three seasons.FIRST MISS: Justin Tucker had made all 222 extra points in his career before he missed one at the end of Baltimore’s 24-23 loss to New Orleans in Week 7. He hadn’t missed any kick 33 yards or shorter in 300 tries his career.