New Orleans Saints vs. Arizona Cardinals: Key Match-Ups to Watch

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Sep 13, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandon Coleman (16) dives to score a 12 yard touchdown as Arizona Cardinals strong safety Deone Bucannon (20) defends during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Saints wide receivers vs the Cardinals secondary

The Saints wide-outs have struggled mightily in recent weeks to get any consistent separation from the opposing secondary. Brandin Cooks, in particular, has not been the play-maker that the team needs him to be, even having his on-field demeanor and effort recently coming into question.

Willie Snead played a hard fought game in last week’s loss to the Buccaneers, and is clearly Brees’ favorite target when his pass pocket breaks down.

The Saints badly missed rookie Michael Thomas, who sat out last week with a foot injury. Thomas has emerged as the team’s number #1 target, and should play this week, although questions remain on how much his foot injury may limit him.

The Cardinals have perhaps the best cornerback in the game in Patrick Peterson, along with safety and big play specialist Tyrann Mathieu — although it appears that Mathieu might be ruled out for this particular contest against his hometown team.

If Thomas is healthy, expect him to draw the bulk of the coverage from Peterson, possibly limiting Thomas’ production, but also providing a terrific showdown worth watching.

Look for Brees to target whomever matches up across from Cardinal cornerback Justin Bethel. Bethel has struggled in deep coverage this year, and is especially vulnerable when Arizona blitzes and he is left in one on one coverage.

Despite the fact that Arizona does have the #1 ranked defense in the NFL, they are only 14th in points allowed.  This game has great potential to be a shootout, given the offensive talent on each side of the ball, and the ability of the young Saints wide receivers to rebound is crucial to any New Orleans hope for victory.