NFL New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints Week 2 In Review And What To Watch For In Week 3

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New Orleans Saints Week 2 In Review And What To Watch For Week 3

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints came away from Week 2 with a very narrow victory over fellow NFC South rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers and were able to improve to 2-0 and retain sole possession of first place within their division. This is a great start for a team that went 7-9 last year in the wake of the Bounty Gate scandal and gave up a record setting 7,042 yards on defense. With head coach Sean Payton back in command and new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan shaking things up on the defense, New Orleans could be poised to take back the NFC South title from the Atlanta Falcons.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves, however. There is still a lot of football to play and there are still many opportunities to be lost for everybody involved. Let us not forget the possibility of losing key personnel to injuries, as well.

I don't want to say that the Saints have started off hot like they did in 2009, because that certainly isn't the case. Both wins so far have been by no more than six points and have came down to the last possession. Against the Falcons, it was a late goal line stand on defense and most recently against Tampa Bay it came down to a field goal as time expired. Clearly New Orleans still has some work to do if they want to get back to dominant, winning ways from recent years past.

Things could be worse, however. New Orleans has been a fairly solid organization for several years now, and has the benefit of great coaching, a great quarterback and many players at the skills positions who often times fly under the radar compared to others. This being said, there is still room for improvement, especially in the running game.

Here now is a look back at Week 2 for the Saints and what's ahead for when they host the Arizona Cardinals at home next Sunday.

Jack Cavanaugh is a New Orleans Saints contributing writer for Follow him on Twitter @cav_jack, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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New Orleans Saints Improve to 2-0

Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints improved to 2-0 off of a game-winning field goal from Garrett Hartley. New Orleans retained sole possession of first place in the NFC South after with the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers both falling to 0-2 and the Atlanta Falcons getting back to .500 with a win over the St. Louis Rams.

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Saints' Running Game STILL Needs Improvement

Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

For the second week in a row, New Orleans' running game was almost non-existent. Between Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram, the trio only managed to gain 75 yards on the ground. This brings their two-game total to just 153 yards on the ground. The Saints will need to improve their running game if they want to be able to compete against some of their tougher opponents this year, like the Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks.

A more potent rushing attack will only help to compliment a passing game that has already proven it can be lethal to opponents.

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Jimmy Graham Has Monster Game, Carries Team In First Half

Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Playing in a contract year, tight end Jimmy Graham essentially carried the Saints in the first half. Graham finished the day with 10 catches for 179 yards and one touchdown. Graham keeps showing everybody why the Saints took a chance on him and will more than likely receive a big contract following the end of this season.

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Rob Ryan's Defense Isn't Bad, But Can Still Benefit From Better Play

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Ryan's defensive unit produced only one sack against the Buccaneers, but it also produced an interception and a fumble recovery. The end product wasn't bad as Tampa Bay was limited to only 14 points, but improvements can be made nonetheless. Better play will be required for when they face the likes of San Francisco, New England and Seattle.

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New Orleans Offense Not Quite As Potent Compared To Recent Years

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans' offense has seemed a little off so far this season. In the season opener against Atlanta, the Saints only put up 23 points while most recently against Tampa Bay, they were limited to 16 points. New Orleans could obviously be in a much worse position, like so many other NFL teams, but some polishing is in order if they hope to contend with some of the league's better teams down the road.