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National Football League
Preview
Cleveland at New Orleans
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, September 16, 2018
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

The New Orleans Saints won the NFC South and went to the playoffs last season on the strength of a dynamic young defense that was supposed to take another step forward in 2018. That defense is licking its wounds after Week 1 and will try to find the form it displayed down the stretch in 2017 when the Saints host the Cleveland Browns in Week 2 on Sunday.

New Orleans allowed Tampa Bay backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to shred the defense for 417 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-40 home loss in Week 1. "We have to gel as a defense now," Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan told reporters. "It is one thing to be the preseason, but we are facing live bullets. We are in the thick of things. We have to address ourselves of who we exactly that we want to be. The 48 points we allowed (in Week 1) was unacceptable." The Browns were closer to a win in Week 1 than at any point in their winless 2017 campaign but couldn't quite make the plays they needed and settled for a 21-21 tie at home against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers. "You should always be hungry to win," Cleveland safety Jabrill Peppers told reporters. "We accept the 0-16. We take it on the chin. But that was last year, and it's a whole new feeling around here now. We showed good things (in Week 1). Just got to put it all together."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Saints -9. O/U: 49.5.

ABOUT THE BROWNS (0-0-1): Cleveland wide receiver Josh Gordon missed most of training camp and was targeted only three times in Week 1 despite playing 69 snaps, and the team is looking to get the star more involved in the offense. "Josh, when he is going like we know he can, he has an opportunity to make plays," Browns coach Hue Jackson told reporters. "He has to continue to work to be in the right spot. We have to give him opportunities, and I think that we will do that." Quarterback Tyrod Taylor had a team debut to forget in Week 1 while completing 15-of-40 passes for 197 yards, but his lone TD pass was to Gordon with 1:58 left in the fourth quarter to force overtime.

ABOUT THE SAINTS (0-1): New Orleans largely abandoned the running game in Week 1 while trying to play catchup, but second-year running back Alvin Kamara still found ways to impact the box score. The 23-year-old managed a pair of rushing TDs on eight carries and hauled in nine catches for 112 yards and another score. "He is extremely versatile," Saints quarterback Drew Brees told reporters of Kamara. "I love his demeanor. I love his approach to the game. He is a guy who comes to practice ready to work. There is no air to him. He just plays with a lot of confidence, plays with a lot of swagger, but I think he also knows when it’s time to work, knows when it’s time to have fun."

EXTRA POINTS

1. Browns DE Emmanuel Ogbah (ankle) sat out practice on Wednesday and is questionable.

2. Saints WR Cameron Meredith was inactive Week 1 and is still learning the offense but could make his team debut Sunday.

3. Cleveland took the last two meetings, including a 30-17 win in its last trip to New Orleans on Oct. 24, 2010.

PREDICTION: Saints 31, Browns 28
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
Cleveland 0-0-1 T1 21.0 21.0 0-0-1 0-0 0-0-1 0-0 - - 0-0-1
New Orleans 0-1 L1 40.0 48.0 0-1 0-0 0-0 0-0 - - 0-1
Last Meeting
Cleveland New Orleans
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
8/10/17 NO 14 CLE 20 312 71 241 320 82 238
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Cleveland D. Alexander 0.0 0 0 0
New Orleans J. Allen 0.0 0 0 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Cleveland D. Alexander 0 0 0.0 0
New Orleans J. Allen 0 0 0.0 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Cleveland D. Alexander 0 0 0.0 0
New Orleans J. Allen 0 0 0.0 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Cleveland D. Alexander 0
New Orleans J. Allen 0
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Cleveland T. Taylor 37.5 197 1 1
New Orleans D. Brees 82.2 439 3 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Cleveland T. Taylor 8 77 9.6 1
New Orleans A. Kamara 8 29 3.6 2
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Cleveland J. Landry 7 106 15.1 0
New Orleans M. Thomas 16 180 11.2 1
Touchdowns Player TD
Cleveland J. Gordon 1
New Orleans A. Kamara 3