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Can't Miss Slants

Game Preview: New Orleans Saints VS. Cleveland Browns

Game Details

  • Match-up: New Orleans Saints (0-1) vs. Cleveland Browns (0-1)
  • LocationFirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH 
  • Date: Sunday, 14 September 2014
  • Time: 1:00 pm ET
  • TV: FOX

A game of two week-one losers who’s first games, while both losses, were very different. New Orleans lost a hard-fought game in overtime in Atlanta, and lost a 20-7 lead in the process. Cleveland, on the other hand, fell behind early and came back late in the game before Pittsburgh kicked a game winning field goal at the end of regulation. Needless to say, one loss hurt more than the other. But now one has to win. Or tie. Either way both can’t lose. The good news for Cleveland is that they are at home, and the Saints haven’t been good outside the Superdome the last couple of seasons.

Key Match-up

Drew Brees vs. the Browns secondary. Cleveland is home to an underrated defense that has a fantastic secondary with the likes of Joe Haden, Donte’ Whitner, Tashaun Gipson, and 1st round pick Justin Gilbert. If Brees picks them apart, then it will be really hard for Cleveland to keep up. Rookie Justin Gilbert may be the target in this game, and he will have to play like the 1st rounder he is. Brees has been around the block and faced terrific secondaries in his career, so expect him to be ready with some sort of game plan to expose the young rookie. Gilbert will get his first look at a top NFL QB. This will be an interesting match-up.

Players to Watch

If Josh Gordon is reinstated for this game, then his is by far the player to watch against a secondary that gave up the most passing yards in franchise history last week. But in the likelihood he is not, we look at two rookies looking to build on their successful debuts, namely, Brandin Cooks and Terrance West.

Cooks was just as advertised with 7 receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown, along with a run of 18 yards, in week 1. The Saints used him everywhere. In the backfield, in the slot, out wide, on screens, you name it. They were sold on this guy when he was still at Oregon State, and it is clear they have a plan to get him the ball. Drew Brees opened his new toy last week. He wants to play with it some more.

West ran for 100 yards last week when Ben Tate went down with an ankle injury. A lot of people are impressed with his talent, and now he will get the first start of his career. It looks like a tough match-up on paper as the Saints have had a good run defense last year. If he can get going, it will make Brian Hoyer’s job much easier. The Browns need a good game from West.

Prediction

I don’t do the prediction thing. So instead this will be my “Shoulda” spot. In all seriousness, the Saints SHOULD win this game by a good margin. They SHOULD be able to stop a rising Browns team. Brees SHOULD have a good day at the least and in the end the Saints SHOULD be heading home with their first victory of the 2014 season.

But, any given Sunday, am I right? -looks at Bears fans-