Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Pressure is key to keeping the Los Angeles Chargers out of the end Zone
The New Orleans Saints face an intriguing Los Angeles Chargers team on Monday Night Football in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints come in with rising confidence, after a 35-29 win against the Detroit Lions. On the other hand, the Chargers come off a heartbreaking loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-31. The Chargers were up 24-7 late in the second quarter, only to witness the Tom Brady machine work yet another comeback.
Still, both teams come in looking to establish an identity starting in Week Five. After researching tons of statistics for the Saints, there is one category where the Saints need a lot of work. Although it’s still early on in the season, and the sample size is small, their red zone defense is simply horrid after four games. Opponents of the Saints possessed the ball on 17 different occasions inside the 20-yard line. No other team has allowed more touchdowns than the New Orleans Saints. The Saints have allowed 104 points in the Red Zone with two field goals.
The 82.4% success rate is nearly doubled the top five in red zone defense. This is a problem. Not a huge issue at the moment but this can’t continue. In 2019, the Saints stood close to 61% per TeamRankings.com.
Furthermore, in 2017 when the Saints’ defense were dominating, the percentage for the season ended around 50%. This statistic isn’t a make or break factor unless the team is at the bottom. However, the trend is trending downward the first four games.
Being in the red zone compresses the field for offenses trying to make space. In plain terms, there is simply less space to work with — smaller windows to throw through — and defenses have a huge advantage against the offense.
Therefore, the Saints better stiffen inside the 20-yard line this upcoming Monday. The black and gold stand at 2-2 at present. The defense came up big, when it needed to last week against the Lions. Be that as it may, giving up over 80% touchdown efficiency in the red zone is a recipe for disaster moving forward.
If the Saints can provide pressure on the quarterback, the ball comes out quicker or a sack is possible. The secondary as a whole can play a lot tighter knowing the defensive line is getting close. The rush defense has been solid. But look for more throws in the red zone if the Saints keep giving up touchdowns. Look to see if there are adjustments this week.