New Orleans Saints vs Kansas City Chiefs: What Did We Learn?
With arguably one of the most playoff implicating games out of the way in week 15, we really got a good idea of where both the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints stand. Both of these teams played their hearts out all game, in the end resulting in a 32-29 Chiefs victory. With that said, there were a lot, and I mean a lot, of storylines coming into this game. In this article, I will be going over some of the key things we learned from this matchup.
The Saints Belong in the Deep Playoffs
Now, this is something many people may be confused by, which is fine. The Saints, even after going down 14-0 early in the game due to the offense stalling and Drew Brees shaking off the rust, kept this game within 3 points. Any time you have a team you are a fan of going up against the current best team in the NFL and reigning Super Bowl champions, you really just hope you won’t get blown out. Something to note about this game on the Saints’ side is the large number of injuries. Both coming into the game and during the game this was an issue. To summarize, here is a list of the important ones:
- WR1 Michael Thomas (Out)
- WR4/Return Specialist Deonte Harris (Out)
- Guard/Center Nick Easton (Out)
- FS1 Marcus Williams (left early and did not return)
- LG1 Andrus Peat (left the game early and did not return)
- WR3 Tre’Quan Smith (left the game early and did not return)
- CB3/Slot CB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (left game early for an extended period, returned)
- DE1 Cameron Jordan (ejected from the game)
- DE2 Trey Hendrickson (left mid-way through the game, did not return)
Should this Saints team have been healthy, or at least some resemblance of it, this game could have been an overtime duel. Something to also consider is QB Drew Brees like I mentioned before was shaking off the rust for most of the first half. This is because he was coming back off a little over 3 weeks of injury due to 11 broken ribs and a collapsed lung. He himself said postgame that he was not 100%, but was getting there.
The Kansas City Chiefs Are Able To Run The Ball Proficiently
This is something I was noticing throughout the game, as well as the broadcasters. The Chiefs were able to get those 5 to 7-yard rushing plays on first and second down to keep the defense honest in a sense. The Chiefs being able to do this is not necessarily big news, but it’s certainly something to watch for in the playoffs. They ran the ball 32 times all game, split between three running backs. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Le’Veon Bell, and Darrel Williams were the three backs who got touches throughout the game.
In these 32 rushing attempts, there was a pretty even split between CEH and Bell, who got 14 and 15 respectively. However, CEH suffered an injury late in the 4th quarter. So this would likely take 2 or 3 runs away from his total. The group had 146 yards all game on the ground, as well as 1 touchdown via Bell. This is something that should ramp up going into the playoffs, as they will need to run against teams to give Patrick Mahomes better-passing opportunities later on.
Tyreek Hill Can Be Contained…To An Extent
This would be why the game was even close in the first place realistically. Tyreek Hill had his 3rd lowest amount of receiving yards this year, with 53 yards total. He also had an early touchdown, however, it was not a breakaway play. New Orleans Saints slot corner Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (mentioned earlier) was covering Tyreek for some of the game, prior to his injury. This led to P.J. Williams being forced into that role, which didn’t end well most of the time. However, when Tyreek played on the outside, primarily against Marshon Lattimore, he was being covered extraordinarily well by the 3rd year corner.
This is something of a trend for Marshon. Covering some of the more elite receivers in the league at a high level, then getting turned around and burned by some mid-level to low-level receivers in other games. This is good for the playoffs should they see players like Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, Tyler Lockett/D.K. Metcalf, etc. Marshon also went up against Travis Kelce at some points, which he was 50/50 on. Sometimes he made great breakups and got his hands in front of Kelce, sometimes Kelce got the better of him. This is key for the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs should they matchup again, as both Hill and Lattimore would go at it again.
Possible Super Bowl Matchup?
Now I am not sold currently with this being set in stone as the Super Bowl matchup this year. There are too many teams in both conferences that could show up and knock either side out whether it be Wild Card round, Divisional, or Conference. Looking at the AFC side for the Kansas City Chiefs, you have a strengthening Buffalo Bills in the East, either Pittsburgh Steelers or Cleveland Browns in the North, and either Indianapolis Colts or Tennessee Titans in the South. One way or another, this will be a dogfight for the Chiefs to get back to the Super Bowl.
The same goes for the New Orleans Saints in the NFC. In the North, you have Green Bay who is definitely someone to keep tabs on in the postseason, in the East you have likely the Washington Football Team, who despite having a lower record is someone that needs to be watched. Finally off in the West, you have the Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams, and even the Arizona Cardinals who all could and should be playoff teams.
However, 10 minutes after the Chiefs @ Saints game concluded, we got a tweet from someone rooted in Saints history. Lance Moore, former Saints WR during their Super Bowl run. Also in the Saints Hall of Fame, just as a note. He believes this matchup we saw will happen again this season in the bright lights of Tampa Bay, Florida. Within Raymond James Stadium. This is his tweet:
Could this be true? Who knows. We will see down the road in January and February. Should this be the matchup that comes of the playoffs, however, it would definitely be one for the ages. One of the greatest legacy-based quarterbacks of the 2000s and 2010s in Drew Brees. As well as the possible quarterback of the future in Patrick Mahomes.
Do you think the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints will meet again in the 2020-2021 Super Bowl? Leave a comment down below and let me know!
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