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Kristian: 5 things to watch in tonight's Saints game

How they handle the noise will be key

Kristian Garic
September 11, 2017 - 10:42 am

​The Saints open the season tonight against the Minnesota Vikings on the road.  By and large the Saints had a pretty productive preseason and training camp.  Relatively healthy and eager to prove some of the naysayers wrong about the outlook of the team, the Saints feel like they're better than most experts might think.  Here are the five things to watch for tonight as the Saints open the season. 

1. The return of Adrian Peterson to Minnesota - Peterson spend 10 seasons in purple before joining the Saints this off-season.  AP has looked solid in camp with minimal preseason game snaps.  He looks like he has gas remaining in the tank. Peterson can publicly say all he wants trying to downplay his return to the twin city, but every competitor would be a little more jacked up for this kind of game than any other.  I would expect Peterson to come out with a little more energy than perhaps he would if this were the Lions or any other NFL team. 

2. The Saints pass rush vs the Vikings offensive line -  The O-line for the Vikings is a mess with only two returning starters from a year ago.  Minnesota was 32nd in the league in rushing offense a year ago and revamped their offensive line and so far in the preseason.  If the Saints can create third and long situations for Sam Bradford and the Vikings offense, that would go a long way in getting  a win tonight. 

3.  Protect the football -  The Vikings defense is one of the best in the league at forcing turnovers, and their record when forcing turnovers is 14-2 under Mike Zimmer at home when the team forces a turnover.  That is a sure fire way to drop this game if the Saints get careless with the football. 

4.  Alvin Kamara - The Rookie running back has been sensational in the preseason and figures to be featured a lot in this game with WR Willie Snead out serving a three game suspension. Regardless if Snead were active for this game or not Kamara would still play a huge roll but it will be magnified now. "Reggie Bush 2.0 is what you need to think about with Kamara.  They're going to use him in similar situations to present mach up problems to the defense" explained Saints Radio Color analyst Deuce McAllister. 

5.  How the Saints handle the noise - It's Monday night, first game of the season.  The Vikings fan base is going to absolutely jacked up for this one.  How well the Saints handle the noise will be a big factor in the outcome of this game. Keep and eye on rookie LT Ryan Ramczyk, and how he responds in his first NFL start on the road. 

Prediction:  I like the Saints to win this game, in a close one 24-20.

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