Washington Redskins @ New Orleans Saints: Monday Night NFL live on Sky Sports
Watch live on Sky Sports Action & Main Event from 1am, Tuesday
By James Simpson
Last Updated: 09/10/18 3:43am
Week Five in the NFL wraps up with a Monday Night Football match-up between the Washington Redskins and the free-scoring New Orleans Saints, exclusively live on Sky Sports Action and Main Event from 1am. Here's what you can expect...
The visiting Redskins (2-1) are coming off a bye week and have just watched their NFC East rivals - the Giants, Eagles, and Cowboys - all lose, giving them an opportunity to take hold of the division. Like many teams, it's hard to gauge Washington's quality at the moment: they dominated the Cardinals, who have just one win in five, but were also beaten by the 1-4 Colts. A home 31-17 win over Green Bay was impressive but tonight is a true test.
New Orleans (3-1) have, in typical fashion, provided their fans with a ton of points and a lot of drama. After an opening day 48-40 defeat to Tampa Bay, they bounced back with a victory over the Browns. That week Cleveland missed an extra point and New Orleans drove down the field to win it at the death, and they did the same in a 43-37 Week Three win with a Drew Brees game-winning TD. Last week, a comfortable victory over the Giants made it three in a row.
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Saints quarterback Drew Brees is likely to make history in this game. With 201 passing yards, he will become the NFL's all-time passing leader. Brees is on 71,740, just behind Brett Favre (71,838) and Peyton Manning (71,940). In Week Three, Brees became the NFL's all-time completion leader (6,344).
If that wasn't enough for one night, Brees could also join Manning, Favre, and Tom Brady in the 500 passing touchdowns club with four scores through the air. The crowd will be rapturous if their QB achieves either of these feats.
Saints running backs versus Redskins linebackers: For the first time this season, New Orleans will welcome back running back Mark Ingram. He was suspended for the first four games but returns to the backfield to join Alvin Kamara after the duo had a historic 2017 season, breaking all sorts of records as both were voted to the Pro Bowl. They became the first pair of backs to exceed 1,500 scrimmage yards in a season (and to have 1,300-plus yards and 10 touchdowns).
They've only played three games, but Washington's defense currently ranks first in yards allowed per game (278.0), passing yards allowed per game (187.3) and points allowed per game (14.7). They are also sixth against the run (90.7 yards per game). But if you slow down Brees, you have the runners to contend with, and vice versa. Middle linebacker pairing of Mason Foster and Zach Brown will have their hands full.
Ones to watch
Alex Smith, for all the 'game-manager' talk, was very successful for Kansas City (five straight winning seasons) before his offseason move to the NFC East. So far, he's been his usual, efficient self with a 68.8 completion percentage and four touchdowns, compared to just one pick. Can he keep up with the New Orleans attack? Adrian 'All Day' Peterson has a pair of 120-plus scrimmage yard games and three touchdowns on the ground so far - the 33-year-old showing he has plenty left in the tank.
The Saints have too many weapons to handle. Around Brees, there's Ingram, Kamara, and Michael Thomas, who's begun his career with two straight 90-plus catch and 1,100-yard seasons and is on pace for 168 catches, 1,780 yards and 12 TDs this year.
Redskins' pass-rusher Ryan Kerrigan and cornerback Josh Norman are both game-changers who will need to step up if Washington are to come away with victory.
Watch the Washington Redskins at the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, live on Sky Sports Action from 1am on Tuesday morning.