What are the key matchups between the Denver Broncos and the New Orleans Saints?
Since Week 1, I have taken a look at two critical individual matchups the Denver Broncos needed to win to come out of each game with a victory. Last week the Broncos played their most complete game of the season against the Miami Dolphins at Empower Field at Mile High.
Last week, Drew Lock was a key matchup against a Miami defense that rattled Rookie of the Year front-runner Los Angles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert.
On defense, the entire defensive line was on notice as the Las Vegas Raiders had their way with the defensive front of the Broncos in their Week 10 matchup. Last week against the Dolphins, the entire front-7 balled out and created problems up and down the line of scrimmage.
Last week, offensively, the Broncos again started slowly before establishing themselves in a way they had not before. Lock bounced back from a critical interception early, and the ground game got rolling as both running back Melvin Gordon, and Phillip Lindsay had nice games running the ball.
Overall, the defense stuffed the Dolphin offense on the ground and terrorized quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa was so rattled, Dolphin head coach Brian Flores went to back up Ryan Fitzpatrick late in the fourth quarter. The damage was done, and Denver picked up a much-needed win.
Matchups: Looking ahead to the New Orleans Saints
Throughout the season, I’ll continue to break down two key individual matchups each week that are critical to a Broncos win.
This week, the Broncos face off with the NFC front-runner New Orleans Saints at home. Like the Broncos, the Saints are fresh from a sound win at home against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Saints come in at 8-2 and sit firmly in the lead of the NFC South. Their ability to win in all three phases is a testament to good players and even better coaching.
Additionally, the Saints have a lot of talent on the offense, so they lost the future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees and still won convincingly last week. They will challenge the Broncos defense in various ways as they have talented playmakers at all skill positions. The Saints also have unique quarterback Taysom Hill subbing for Brees, who will present a different look than any other they have faced this year.
The Saints defense continues to play well in both the run and pass, providing Drew Lock another test to show he has made the necessary adjustments to be a great quarterback in the league.
With a win Sunday, the Broncos will get back on track and feel better about their playoff chances. With a loss, this team is one step closer to watching the playoffs from the outside looking in for the fifth straight season.
So, who needs to play well for the Broncos to win this week?
This week, I look at who must win their individual matchups to ensure the Broncos win against the Saints.