TV Schedule: Sunday, Sept. 22, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX
Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Weather: Low 70, High 84
Line: New Orleans (-9)
After a disappointing 2012 season, the New Orleans Saints have come out in 2013 with something to prove. Sitting at 2-0 with two close wins isn’t that impressive, but no win in the NFL is easy no matter who you’re playing. Drew Brees, like always, has been solid thus far with 679 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those touchdowns have landed in the hands of tight end Jimmy Graham who leads the team with 14 catches for 224 yards and two scores — quite possibly the most productive tight end in football. Marques Colston is second on the team with nine catches for 131 yards and a score. Again, as always, the Saints do not have a solid run game. Pierre Thomas is the leading rusher with 72 yards on a whopping 14 carries.
On the other side of the field, the Arizona Cardinals are coming off their first win of the season against the Detroit Lions and they have something that hasn’t been on the Arizona’s field in years: a pass game. It’s been a few seasons since the last time Arizona ran out a solid passing game and that is due, in large part, to the addition of veteran quarterback Carson Palmer. It doesn’t hurt to have one of the best receivers in the league, either, in Larry Fitzgerald. In fact, the Palmer to Fitzgerald connection has happened 10 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns this season so far. The run game could use some work as Rashard Mendenhall leads the 10th best attack in the NFC with 126 yards and a score.
Defensively, the Cardinals are one of the best teams in the league at stopping the run. They allow just under 60 yards per game and that won’t be an issue as the Saints don’t run the ball much as it is. On the other side, New Orleans has improve drastically on defense. The secondary is stronger than in recent years, ranked eighth in the league with just under 200 pass yards per game while the run defense is one of the worst. Mendenhall might have a big day.
PREDICTION: Cardinals 23, Saints 34