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Saints look to open two-game lead over Falcons

Monday Night Football returns to the Superdome when the New Orleans Saints host the Miami Dolphins. Miami enters this matchup with a record of 3-0 having defeated the Atlanta Falcons last week.

New Orleans is also 3-0 to start the season, while last season were 0-3 at this same time. Since New Orleans has had Sean Payton as head coach, they are 10-2 in Monday Night games including winning the last eight straight. In those eight straight victories, the Saints have won by a margin on average of 16 points.

Though the good start of 3-0 by the Dolphins could be surprising for football pundits, Miami will be a tough test for New Orleans tonight.

New Orleans leads the NFC South by 1½ games over last year’s division champions the Atlanta Falcons. This season, as has been commonplace in the past, the Saints have a great aerial attack on offense, but their running game leaves much to be desired.

The rushing game ranks No. 24 in the league. However, tonight Miami might not have two starters Paul Soliai and Cameron Wake on the defensive line, which could help the Saints with their running game.

A big matchup for the NFC South Saints will be Keenan Lewis on Mike Wallace. The defense for the Saints set records last season for futility but have turned around this season. Nevertheless, they will face a tough receiver in Wallace a native of New Orleans. Thus far, the Saints secondary has defended well this season against talented receivers like Vincent Jackson, Larry Fitzgerald and Julio Jones. Each one of the three gained less than 80 yards when they played the Saints.

Lewis should guard Wallace, which will make for an interesting sideline to the game. Both Wallace and Lewis grew up here and were friends during childhood. The two also used to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers last year. That battle will be quite interesting, as both will not want the other to show them up.

The pass rush for the Saints will be an important part of their defense. If they can put consistent pressure on Ryan Tannehill, the Miami quarterback, then Lewis will have a much easier time defending against Wallace.

Last week Junior Galette and Cameron Jordan helped the defensive line to four sacks against Arizona and a number of quarterback pressures.

The Dolphins allowed five sacks last week by Atlanta and the Falcons were without their top pass rusher. If the Dolphins offensive line cannot hold back the pass rushers for the Saints, if could be a long night for Tannehill.

On offense, Drew Brees should have a good game against the Miami secondary if given time to throw. However, he needs to remain turnover free. Interceptions or fumbles while rushed by defenders have hurt Brees during his career and this season. In fact, over the past 19 regular season games, Brees has turned the ball over at least once in 16.

I am going with the Saints in this matchup, as the running game will be the difference.

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