So, what will the New Orleans Saints have for an encore when they take on the Houston Texans in Week 6? They are coming off their best performance of the season through the first five weeks when they shut out the New England Patriots 34-0. However, many Saints fans still need to be convinced of how the team will perform in future games. The cause for concern is that while the Patriots’ win was impressive, they don’t resemble the team we are accustomed to watching during the Tom Brady years.
The franchise now looks like a team headed for a complete rebuild. With Week 5 in the rear-view mirror, the Saints’ focus is now on the Houston Texans. The Texans currently have a record of 2-3. Still, their recent performances over the last few weeks indicate that the team could return to playoff contention under the watch of first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans and their rookie QB C.J. Stroud.
Saints vs. Texans Game Preview
The buzz for the entire week has been about the Saints’ defense and whether they can force Stroud into playing like a rookie QB in his first year in the National Football League. So far, through the first five weeks of the 2023 campaign, the former Buckeye has produced like a signal-caller poised beyond his years at the next level. He has thrown for 1,461 yards, seven touchdowns, and zero interceptions.
But the Texans’ offense does not end with the presence of Stroud. They have a solid core of young wide receivers, such as Nico Collins and rookie Nathaniel “Tank” Dell out of Houston. Dell is in concussion protocol and will not see action against New Orleans, but that does not mean the defense will have an easy day. Collins is the Texans leading receiver with 25 receptions, 467 yards, and three touchdowns.
If we know anything about the Saints’ defense, we know that signs of collapsing at any moment are always possible. If they can neutralize Collins, it will be interesting to see how Stroud will adjust to what New Orleans is showing him. As for Houston’s ground game, it has yet to be one of the more robust points this season. They only average 82.6 yards per game, which ranks them 27th in the league. So basically, the Saints defense will have to get the job done through the air this Sunday.
Offensively, the Saints must continue to get the ball into the hands of their top playmaker, Alvin Kamara. In his second game back from a three-game suspension, the former All-Pro has had his best performance of the season. He rushed for 80 yards on 22 carries and one touchdown. Also, could Sunday’s matchup against the Texans become a breakout game for Michael Thomas? Since the start of the season, Thomas has emerged as the security blanket for new quarterback Derek Carr.
However, we have not seen a performance that resembles what he has done in past years. His teammate, Chris Olave, is another name to watch out for regarding production on the field. In the past two weeks, he has yet to return to his 2022 form that made him one of the league’s top rookie receivers. A bounce-back game against Houston could significantly boost the Saints’ offense.
While Houston has looked like a formidable team against previous opponents, I don’t expect that to be the situation against a veteran-loaded Saints roster on Sunday. Head coach Dennis Allen knows the ins and outs of matching up his defense against anything that an opponent may present. New Orleans will have a record of 4-2 when this matchup is over.
Saints 31, Texans 17
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