The New Orleans Saints have overcome every challenge thrown their way this season and will have to do more of the same with Maarshon Lattimore’s injury.
The New Orleans Saints were without their Hall of Fame quarterback for five games, their Pro Bowl running back for two games and their recently acquired tight end for two games.
Yet, through all of that, the Saints still continued to win games and have a 7-2 record on the season. However, that 7-2 record does not feel great right now, as the team was just handed an ugly loss at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons.
The Saints were blown out, for the lack of a better word, by the Falcons by a score of 26-9 in the Superdome. The loss was as shocking as it was ugly and hurt the Saints’ chances of being the number one seed in the NFC, although they were aided by the Seattle Seahawks beating the San Francisco 49ers.
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The Saints lost more than just the game, though, as the team also lost Marshon Lattimore to injury. Lattimore left the game with a hamstring injury in the second quarter and has since been considered week-to-week.
This is massive for the Saints as Lattimore has arguably been the most important piece of the Saints’ defense thus far this season.
While there is talent around Lattimore to make up for his loss, the team did get exposed a bit with Lattimore out of the game and that will continue to be the case without him. Part of the reason why the Saints’ defense, in particular, the secondary, has over-achieved this season is because of Lattimore’s bounce-back year.
Without Lattimore, we will probably see more of the Saints’ defense of old that allows long drives and has to win games with an offensive slugfest. Not having that lockdown corner to shut down the other team’s best receiver is going to be pivotal in extending drives and scoring in the red zone.
The Saints do not have a Teddy Bridgewater-like player at the cornerback position. Eli Apple is not fit to be a first corner and other teams are going to expose it, whether it is by targeting Apple or using that matchup to get other guys open.
If Lattimore is not back in the fold this Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers then the Saints are going to have a lot of problems. Lattimore completely shut down Mike Evans last go around, but now without Lattimore, the Bucs can have some fun in the passing game with Evans and Chris Godwin.
As we have seen all season, it has been the New Orleans Saints’ defense that has been making the biggest difference in these games. There will be a big difference without Lattimore in the lineup, albeit for the worst.