Week 2 of the NFL season brings an unfamiliar foe of the Cleveland Browns to town to face a New Orleans Saints team, humiliated by their defense. The Browns come into this game looking for something they have not had in a long time, they’re looking for a victory. The last time that happened was 2016 and being a 10 point underdog means a lot of people think it may have to wait another week. The Saints are coming off a very disappointing week losing in a game they were heavily favored to win. The Saints offense played a game for the record books seeing both franchise and personal records set, but the defense forgot to play defense and allowed 48 points to a team playing with their back up quarterback. Cleveland’s conservative offense may just be what an ailing Saints defense needs to get their swagger back.
No team wants the feeling of having their second game be a must win, but after giving up a home game to a Bucs team considered the lesser opponent the Saints can not take anything for granted. After suffering through that embarrassing loss the only thing that would be worse is losing to the Browns, breaking their winless streak and being the second victory of Coach Hue Jackson’s tenure. The Browns are so bad of a team that they still couldn’t win to end their losing streak by ending their game last week with a tie. I’m predicting a Saints win and if the Saints are going to win it is all going to fall on the defense to not lose the game. Considering the Saints are heavily favored to win saying they will win is not so bold, but along the way to their victory there will be some crazy turn of events. So without further ado I give to you my bold predictions.
1. The Saints defense will show up and hold the Browns offense to under 300 yards.
Things went about as bad as it can get for the Saints D last week, but Cleveland’s offense wasn’t much better last week. Cleveland QB Tyrod Taylor threw for under 200 yards, completing only 15 passes, and was under constant pressure from Pittsburg. The Saints defense is full of playmakers all looking for redemption from last week and should continue to keep the Browns offense from putting up big numbers.
2. Marcus Davenport will have multiple sacks and play up to expectations.
Rookie first round draft pick Marcus Davenport was drafted to be the compliment to All Pro Cameron Jordan and be the final piece of a Super Bowl defense. Davenport was injured through most of preseason and didn’t stand out very much in camp. Like most of the rest of the defense he was pretty much non relevant outside of a batted pass and a penalty in last weeks lost. A lot of hype has put into Davenport and I’m sure he probably felt lots of pressure in his debut NFL game to live up to it, but now that’s out of the way and the butterflies have gone away he can go into this game and just play. The O line struggled mightily last week and will probably show extra attention to Jordan trying to keep Taylor upright and in doing that should free up Davenport to wreak havoc on the other side.
3. Baker Mayfield will see his first NFL action.
I’m expecting the Saints to put up a lot of points very fast and in an attempt to save his job and season Coach Jackson will replace Taylor with Mayfield. Mayfield had a great preseason and was the first overall pick of this years draft and it’ll be to tempting to not see what he has if the Browns get in desperation mode. Mayfield got some serious praise this week when Drew Brees said Baker could be better than he ever was.
4. Ken Crawley will have more picks than penalties.
Crawley was the most penalized player in the entire NFL last year and he’s already started off this year with a pass interference call in week 1. The Saints D will be playing at a highly motivated level bringing along an intensive pass rush with it and when the pass rush is rolling the quarterback is bound to make some bad throws.
5. David Onyemeta will be fined less this week.
Onyemeta was fined $40,000 dollars last week for 2 roughing the passer calls. The NFL has made the league even more quarterback friendly by creating more rules to protect the quarterback. This year will probably see a new record of fines for quarterback hits. No coach loves to give up free yards and not many players like to just give their money away, Onyemata probably got an ear full from the coaches about the hits. It will not be surprising if he is gets a little more timid this weekend when he gets around the QB. If he does see an increase in fines that will probably mean that is was another bad day for the defense and not a good game for the Saints.