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Scouting the Saints: 4 things to know about New Orleans

Winston

The New Orleans Saints come marching into FedExField to face the Washington Football Team hoping to improve on its 2-2 record. It's been a roller coaster for the Saints alternating wins and losses through the first four weeks of the season.

Here are four things you need to know about the Saints ahead of Sunday's game:

1. A flip-flop of strengths on offense.

The Saints have run the ball about just as many times as they've thrown it, but it's clear which aspect of the offense is the more successful of the two. The Saints' 144 passing yards per game ranks 31st in the league. On the ground, however, they rank seventh with an average of 132.8 yards. It's a much different style of offense when compared to what the Saints were used to under Drew Brees, who threw for more than 35,000 yards over the course of his career.

Limiting the ground game has been the stronger aspect of Washington's defense, which ranks 17th with a 118-yard average per game. Cole Holcomb has been a catalyst for this, as he is fourth in the NFL with 41 tackles through four games.

2. Deonte Harris is the go-to receiver.

New Orleans only has 576 net passing yards through four games, which is understandable, given that Michael Thomas is still on the Physically Unable To Perform list. In the star wideout's absence, Deonte Harris has emerged as the Saints' leading receiver.

Harris, who is entering his third season with the Saints, only had 210 yards and a touchdown heading into the 2021 season. He is already set to surpass those numbers with 164 yards and a score. The wide receiver leads the team with 15 targets and 11 receptions and is second in the NFC South with 14.9 yards per catch. He should be a quality challenge for Washington's secondary.

The Washington Football Team begins its week of practice to prepare for its home matchup against the New Orleans Saints in Week 5. (Photos by Emilee Fails and Karlee Sell/Washington Football Team)

3. Alvin Kamara is still an offensive difference-maker.

The Saints have heavily utilized the running game this season, and running back Alvin Kamara has once again been a dynamic piece of that. Kamara is sixth in the NFL with 297 yards on 78 attempts. That's only part of his game, though. Kamara has 62 receiving yards to go with a pair of touchdowns thus far, and he has the most receiving yards for a running back over the past two seasons. Kamara's versatility will need to be accounted for by Washington's defense.

4. An intriguing situation at quarterback.

The biggest question the Saints had coming into the season was who would take over for Brees as the starting quarterback. Winston, the 2015 No. 1 overall pick, earned the job in training camp. However, head coach Sean Payton has no problem throwing in Taysom Hill to make a play. While not much of a passing threat, Hill has made the most impact on the ground rushing for 77 yards and three touchdowns. Winston has 613 yards, two interceptions, and eight touchdowns on the season, five of which came from the Week 1 victory over the Green Bay Packers. He's also made an impact on the run game rushing for 60 yards and a touchdown.

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