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Saints’ next two opponents won’t have two of their best players

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The New Orleans Saints are still reeling from losing Jameis Winston to a season-ending ACL tear, but they aren’t the only team working without a major contributor. Their next opponent, the Atlanta Falcons, are without top receiver Calvin Ridleywho said he’s stepping away from football to address his mental wellbeing. Obviously Ridley’s mental health is the most important issue here, and he’s making the right decision to take care of himself.

And for the Saints, that means defending a Falcons passing attack that had only been averaging 247 passing yards per game, 56.2 of which Ridley was accounting for each week. Their next four pass-catchers in targets are all tight ends (Kyle Pitts and Hayden Hurst) or running backs (Cordarrelle Patterson and Mike Davis). An already-strong Saints defense should have success against them.

But there’s another serious situation brewing for New Orleans’ following matchup, in Week 10 against the Tennessee Titans. Two-time rushing champion Derrick Henry will miss the rest of the regular season with a broken bone in his foot, which takes him out of action for that upcoming Saints game. It’s a brutal loss for Tennessee.

Henry has played against every team in the NFL except for the Saints (and the Titans, of course), having missed their 2019 game with a hamstring injury, and he’ll have to wait until the Titans make the trip to New Orleans in 2023 to get his next chance.

This all means that the Saints have a stronger shot at continuing their three-game winning streak, no matter who is starting under center for them. Whether that’s Trevor Siemian or Taysom Hill or someone else entirely, they’ll know they can continue to lean on one of the NFL’s best defenses in the months ahead.