If the New Orleans Saints defense can win the battle against the Tennessee Titans offensive line, their chances of victory go up in a big way on Sunday. Saying the key to victory is stopping Derrick Henry is too simple. Who doesn’t go into a game aiming to stop the opposing team’s best player? It’s about keeping Henry to minimal gains on first and second down, so he becomes a non-factor on third down. He may even leave the field.
Any third down where a Derrick Henry run is on the table is a win for the Titans. This is done by winning at the line of scrimmage. The Titans have a completely new offensive line. The only returning starter from last year’s unit is changing positions. What makes this battle interesting is the Saints have three new starters on the defensive line. Week 1 will be a huge test for a defense that regressed against the run in 2022.
Winning this battle also impacts the passing game. The Saints defensive linemen struggled to generate pressure last year. If you can get the Titans in third and long, then you need to put pressure on Ryan Tannehill. Khalen Saunders and Bryan Bresee have looked like skilled pass rushers from the interior this preseason. The Saints defense must look to penetrate the line of scrimmage on run and pass plays to disrupt the Titans offense.