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Monday, September 24, 2007
Salisbury: Saints have much to prove

By Sean Salisbury

Every Monday, ESPN football analyst Sean Salisbury provides his picks and keys to the game for ESPN PlayCaller. Want to put Sean's advice to work? Think you know better? Join now and let's see what you've got.


Most passing yards: Drew Brees
Drew Brees is going to have a 300-yard night tonight. He has struggled the first two weeks and I expect him to bust out big. Sean Payton, his head coach, will want to get him confident early and will throw the ball to do so.

Most touchdown passes: Drew Brees
Vince Young's team is not a throwing team. The Titans may get one or two throwing touchdowns but no more. The Saints are capable of throwing four or five touchdowns and they will throw in the red zone. Look for Brees to come up big.

Most rushing yards: Deuce McAllister
Deuce will have a 100-yard game as the Saints will want to prove they are not just a finesse team and they will lean on him.

Most rushing touchdowns: Deuce McAllister
McAllister will get in the end zone twice tonight. The Saints will lean on him inside the 5-yard line.

Receiving yards: Marques Colston
This will be a good night for Colston. He finished second in the rookie of the year voting, and this is the go-to guy for Brees tonight.

Most field goals: Olindo Mare
This is a New Orleans game and O-Mare happens to play for the Saints.

First touchdown: Deuce McAllister
Tonight is McAllister's night. The Saints will score first and it might be McAllister.

First team touchdown: New Orleans
With all of New Orleans' weapons, I look to the Saints to score the first TD with McAllister and the second TD with Reggie Bush.

Keys to the game for the Saints

  1. They must get off to a fast start.
    It will build their confidence and let the crowd get behind them. The Saints need to give themselves a boost and prove to themselves that they are as good as they think they are.

  2. Multiple formations
    They must make the Titans cover their playmakers, confuse them and make them deal with different formations.

  3. Let Deuce touch the ball 30 times
    Do that, and they will see a big difference. Let the Titans know that the Saints are not just a finesse team. If they have to, they can line it up and hit you in the mouth. They are going to go where McAllister takes them.

  4. Will somebody on the New Orleans secondary please make a play?
    Just stop somebody. Anybody.

  5. Don't let Vince Young beat you!
    If Vince Young has the ball late in the game, with the game in reach, the Saints could be 0-3.

Keys to the game for the Titans

  1. Continue to run the football
    They are playing a finesse team in the New Orleans Saints. It will be a loud and hostile environment. The Titans need to control the ball and keep the Saints' offense off the field.

  2. Must come up with a big play
    If the Titans can come up with some big plays early it will keep the crowd out of it. This is a big game for both teams and the crowd will be a factor. Take 'em out early.

  3. Put the ball in Vince Young's hands to run or throw
    This is a special football player who knows how to win. He can carry two houses and the rest can carry one. Put the game on him. Let him do what he does.

  4. Somebody besides Vince has to make a play
    The defense will get smart and say, "Let's make somebody else beat us. Not Vince Young." Somebody else will have to rear his head and come up big.

  5. Did I mention, let Vince Young do what Vince Young can do?

Sean Salisbury is an NFL analyst for ESPN