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papz 10-26-2012 03:36 PM

3TFO: Saints @ Broncos, Week 8
 
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With the home teams undefeated through the first five weeks of Sunday Night Football, the away teams have come back to win the past matchups, and this week we’ll have another exciting game as the Saints meet the Broncos in Denver. There are certainly factors that would favor the home Broncos in this one — New Orleans QB Drew Brees is 0-4 in his career in Denver, while Peyton Manning will likely be extra motivated in his first game against the Saints since losing to them in Super Bowl XLIV, and after he watched last year’s humiliating 62-7 defeat at the hands of the Saints from the Colts’ sideline.

The Broncos will likely get Peyton’s nemesis in that Super Bowl, Tracy Porter, back from injury, which will make for an interesting battle on the outside as he goes against his former team. And he’ll need to play well as the Saints have pretty much abandoned the run this season, coming in last in the league in rushing. Expect to see plenty of passing on the other side too, as Denver will look to exploit a porous Saints defense.

Here are some key matchups to watch.

Miller and Dumervil vs. Strief and Bushrod

With the Saints’ penchant for passing, how they fare in pass protection will be an important factor in determining the outcome of the game — and we’ll be watching closely. They may face one of the toughest tests of the season against Denver, in the form of trying to block Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. Miller enters this game as our highest graded 4-3 outside linebacker by a mile, ahead of all linebackers in the run game and as a pass rusher, while Dumervil’s Pass Rushing Productivity rating of 13.6 is second among 4-3 defensive ends. The two have combined for 65 quarterback disruptions this year, an average of about 11 per game.

For the Saints, the onus of blocking Denver’s fearsome rushers falls on tackles Jermon Bushrod and Zach Strief. The two have had their share of struggles this season, and have given up 40 combined pressures at an average of just under seven per game. However, they’ve played much better in recent weeks, with Bushrod allowing three QB disruptions in the past two games, while Strief has given up just two. And not surprisingly, their stellar play has coincided with the Saints’ first two wins of the season.

Regarding the individual matchups, Bushrod will likely block Dumervil most often, as he’s lined up on the right side at DRE or RE on 63% of his 363 snaps as a down-lineman. He also occasionally rushes from a two-point stance, but actually drops into coverage more often (60%) when lined up as a linebacker. Likewise, Strief will see a lot of Miller, but since the Bronco moves around quite a bit, he’ll see plenty of rushes against both tackles.

Continue reading: Profootball Focus

Rugby Saint II 10-27-2012 08:40 PM

Re: 3TFO: Saints @ Broncos, Week 8
 
Bushrod and Strief are gonna' need some help with that pass rush.

Marlboro Man 10-27-2012 09:50 PM

Re: 3TFO: Saints @ Broncos, Week 8
 
I hope Carmichael remembers to call some chips on the ends.


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