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Bengals vs. Saints: First Viewpoint

Photo courtesy of the New Orleans Saints.

The New Orleans Saints look to get back to 500 when they host the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday at the Caesars Superdome. Both teams have gotten off to a rocky start with 2-3 records. The Saints picked up a needed victory over the Seattle Seahawks, while the Bengals suffered a letdown on the road against the Baltimore Ravens. A reunion storyline has built up hype since the game was announced in the off-season. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow played his last game as an LSU Tiger in the Superdome in January 2020. Players such as Trey Hendrickson, Vonn Bell, and Eli Apple were members of Saint teams that were championship contenders. Here are a few things to look for in Sunday’s important matchup between the two teams.

What to Look For

The Health of the Saints Secondary

What was alarming last week was the Saints’ secondary’s inept performance against the Seattle Seahawks’ passing attack. The unit had multiple starters with injuries, such as P.J. Williams and Marcus Maye. All-Pro corner Marshon Lattimore left the game with an abdominal injury. The injury occurred when Lattimore was trying to defend a pass thrown by Seahawks QB Geno Smith.

Head coach Dennis Allen provided a status update on Monday. “He (Lattimore) had some testing l(Sunday) night and some more testing (Monday),” Allen said. “I won’t go into the specifics of the abdominal injury that he has, but he’s got to be ok. We’ll just have to see how he responds this week in terms of what his availability is going to be.” If Lattimore is out for Sunday’s game against Cincinnati, it would be a huge blow for the Saints’ defense. No official word has been given on whether safety Marcus Maye will be available this Sunday. Not having his range was greatly missed against the Seahawks. Williams was placed on IR after suffering a quadriceps injury. He won’t be eligible to return until Week 9.

Utilization of Taysom Hill

Taysom Hill showed why he is the league’s most versatile player at his position. Hill accounted for four touchdown scores in last Sunday’s 39-32 victory over the Seahawks. He rushed for 112 yards on nine carries, which resulted in three touchdowns. The other TD came through the air. Will we see the same usage against the Bengals’ defense this Sunday? I’m sure the Bengals will be prepared for Hill’s style of play to an opposing defense. It’s a matter of how they will contain him. The Saints’ offense is already limited by not having players available such as Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry, because of injuries. Having Hill play in his utility role has sparked the Saints’ offense. However, please be aware that the Seahawks are at the bottom of the league regarding statistical categories on defense.

Occurrence of Costly Mistakes

Costly mistakes have been an ongoing issue for New Orleans since the start of the season. If those issues were minimized over the past few games, the Saints would be undefeated right now. Errors such as fumbles, the officials’ controversial calls, and their undoing have cost the Saints opportunities to capitalize on their opponents. If New Orleans does not get those miscues under control against Cincinnati, the fans may head to the exits early before the game ends.

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