NFL Game of the Week: Chiefs vs. Saints

Story posted December 19, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Alex Rocco

We have reached Week 15 of the NFL season and this week we see a marquee matchup of two of the top teams in the league, the Kansas City Chiefs and the New Orleans Saints.

The Kansas City Chiefs are arguably the league’s best team with arguably the league’s best player in Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes this season has thrown for 4,208 yards, 33 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Mahomes has also rushed for 250 yards and two touchdowns. The Chiefs’ offense ranks second averaging 31 points per game.

At running back, the Chiefs have dynamic rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Edwards-Helaire has run for 724 yards and four touchdowns on 167 carries this season. He has also been a huge factor in the passing game as he has racked up 35 catches for 293 yards and one touchdown.

The Chiefs have two excellent pass catchers in tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Kelce has 90 catches for 1,250 yards and nine touchdowns while Hill has 77 catches for 1,158 yards and he has found the endzone 14 times. If the Chiefs want to come away with a win, they are going to need big games from these two.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Chiefs’ opponents are averaging 22 points per game, which ranks eighth in the league.

Generating pressure for the Chiefs has been Chris Jones and Frank Clark. Jones has six and a half sacks and three and a half tackles-for-loss this season. Clark has registered five sacks and seven tackles-for-loss.

Linebacker has been a weak spot on this Chiefs defense for the last few seasons but Anthony Hitchens has been enjoying a good season. Hitchens has 75 tackles, two and a half tackles-for-loss and one pass deflection.

At cornerback, the Chiefs have Bashaud Breeland and Rashad Fenton. Breeland has seven pass deflections and two interceptions while Fenton has six pass deflections and one interception this season.

Kansas City arguably has the best safety duo in the league in Tyrann Mathieu and Daniel Sorensen. Mathieu has been nothing short of excellent this season, putting up stats of 59 tackles, nine pass deflections, six interceptions and two tackles-for-loss. As for Sorensen, he has 80 tackles, three pass deflections, three interceptions and two tackles-for-loss.

The Saints are coming off of an upset loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, and they need to find a way to win this game as they no longer have the top spot in the NFC.

Luckily for the Saints, quarterback Drew Brees is returning from a rib injury and he will look to pick up right where he left off. In nine games, Brees has thrown for 2,196 yards, 18 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

The Saints have one of the best running backs in the league in Alvin Kamara. Kamara has totaled 723 rushing yards on 154 carries and has found the endzone 10 times this season. He is also the team's leading receiver with 77 catches for 699 yards and four touchdowns.

Star receiver Michael Thomas will miss this game as he sustained an ankle injury. This is a big loss as Thomas in just seven games this season has 40 catches for 438 yards but has not gotten into the endzone.

The Saints will need guys such as Emmanuel Sanders and Tre’Quan Smith to step up to fill the void. Sanders has 44 catches for 504 yards and four touchdowns while Smith has 33 catches for 423 yards and four touchdowns.

New Orleans has a stout defense as their opponents are averaging just 20 points per game, however the Saints will have a tough test against the Kansas City offense.

Edge rushers Trey Hendrickson and Cameron Jordan have been dominant all season. Hendrickson has 10.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles-for-loss while Jordan has six and a half sacks and 11 tackles-for-loss.

Linebacker Demario Davis has been a force all season, recording 91 tackles, 10.5 tackles-for-loss, four sacks and four pass deflections.

The Saints have a lockdown secondary. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins has had a bounceback season with 10 pass deflections and three interceptions while cornerback Marshon Lattimore has had seven pass deflections and one interception.

The Saints have a trio of safeties who have all been excellent this season. Malcolm Jenkins has 67 tackles, nine pass deflections, and two interceptions, C.J. Gardner-Johnson has 59 tackles and nine pass deflections, and Marcus Williams has 57 tackles, six pass deflections, and three interceptions.

This game will kick off Sunday, Dec. 20 at 4:25 p.m. in New Orleans.

Prediction: Chiefs 34, Saints 21

 

Alex Rocco is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at afr5646@psu.edu.