Saints vs. Bengals: Crossing Enemy Lines with


Nov 9, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) looks on from the bench during overtime against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The 49ers won 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

We want to thank the guys over at for taking the time to answer our questions. If you get a chance stop over and see what they have to say about the Bengals matchup against the Saints.

Stripe Hype: Saints are coming off a heartbreaking loss in overtime to the 49ers, being that they are 4-5, how can the Saints bounce back this week against the Bengals?

WhoDatDish: Simply put, they are going to need to put together a win. Not only a win, but one that would help restore their confidence that was lost against the 49ers. The Saints will need to focus their efforts on the running game. The Browns were able to produce 170 rushing yards last week, and Mark Ingram is red hot. It’s easy to do the math here. Drew Brees cannot get ‘cute’ and try to beat the Bengals solely with his arm. On the flip side, the Saints defense must force Andy Dalton to make mistakes. Sure, that seems common in today’s NFL, but Dalton is slumping right now. This is the type of game that he can get his confidence and swagger back, and that’s something the Saints must negate.

SH: The Saints will face 3 AFC North team in a row starting with the Bengals on Sunday Afternoon, will it be hard for the Saints to keep focus this week knowing the upcoming challenge or is it business as usual?

WDD: One thing you have to learn about the Saints and their players is that it’s business as usual all the time. The loss stings, and the players know it. They aren’t going to dwell on things. We could all sulk at the fourth down play against the 49ers or the questionable offensive pass interference on the Hail Mary at the end of the game, but this team must overcome and take it one game at a time. That’s the only thing on the Saints’ mind right now.

SH: Jimmy Graham has been a matchup nightmare for defenses across the league, has it been a temptation for the Saints to move him into a wide receiver roll now than ever before with this contract being done? Has there been an advantage to keeping him listed as a tight end?

WDD: Graham is one of three tight ends that suit up on Sunday, and because of his versatility, it has yielded only four wide receivers to suit up on game day. Graham creates a ton of mismatches, and he’s playing some of his best football right now despite being hurt (shoulder). I dare say that he’s been on fire lately. The Saints’ offense always looks at creating potential mismatches, so they’ll line Graham up wherever they feel he’ll make the most impact. Graham may draw a lot of hype around his ‘wide receiver’ labels, but he’s improved a great deal in blocking, something that often gets overshadowed.

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SH: The Bengals have seemed to have flashes of brilliance as well as mental lapses, hence the under performing 5-3-1 record, what has been the Saint Achilles heel to their 4-5 record so far?

WDD: It’s been a combination of things. On one hand, the Saints haven’t been able to preserve a lead, and have lost several contests this season in the last two minutes. It’s a common theme that’s reared its ugly head since last season, and you can even go back further than that. On the other hand, it’s been the turnovers that have killed the Saints. Brees has more turnovers at home than he does on the road this season, and that’s quite scary. In two games (49ers and Bucs), he’s been responsible for six turnovers. He’s made some poor choices, and that in turn has done the Saints in.

SH: What are the keys to this game for the Saints to win? Who will be their key difference maker?

WDD: The first place I look is the matchup between A.J. Green and Keenan Lewis. Green was targeted 10 times against the Browns last week, but only managed three receptions. Green commands a great deal of respect, and that’s going to be a potential difference maker in the game. That being said, you’d have to look at Mohamed Sanu against Corey White. That’s where the Bengals can find some success on Sunday. I also look at the Saints’ defense against Jeremy Hill and possibly Giovani Bernard. Bernard isn’t a lock to return this week, but it’s going to be a scary matchup if he does. As for the last key, the Saints must play a mistake-free game. Their defense will dictate a win here.

SH: Prediction?

WDD: These teams both could use a win here, but moreso the Saints. Should the Saints lose, they can be vaulted by the Falcons (who play the Panthers) for the division lead. They’re going to have to get it done, no excuses. It’ll be an entertaining matchup, and I see this one as a close game. The Saints win 30-24.