Despite it being so early in the season, tonight is practically must-win for New Orleans Saints, the preseason favorite in the NFC. The Saints have been outscored 72-24 in losses to Indianapolis and Tampa Bay; the defending NFC South champs look to avoid their first 0-3 start since 1997.
Perhaps a return to the Superdome will help, as this will be the Saints' home opener. New Orleans players remain confident they can rebound from 0-2 to make the playoffs, as Kansas City did last year.
"They were a lot of people's preseason Super Bowl pick. They still have those same guys," Tennessee defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. "We know we're going to get a different team because it is their home opener and it's going to be a big emotional boost for them."
"By no means are we out of it," said New Orleans QB Drew Brees, who has thrown just one touchdown and three interceptions. "It sets you back, but it's nothing we can't overcome."
All of the hype for tonight's game focuses on the first pro matchup between Titans QB Vince Young and Saints RB Reggie Bush; Young, of course, led Texas to a thrilling national title victory over Bush's Southern Cal team on Jan. 4, 2006.
"You have two up-and-coming athletes who are really the faces of their franchises coming in and playing against each other on 'Monday Night Football' on the national stage. This game is all built up to be a great game," Bush said.
Bush's running back mate then, LenDale White, is with the Titans. Between White, Chris Brown and Young, the Titans average an NFL-best 211.5 rushing yards per game. New Orleans' backfield tandem of Bush and Deuce McAllister, meanwhile, combined for just 76 yards on 20 carries last weekend, and duo has yet to score a TD.
Defensively, New Orleans is allowing 391.0 yards per contest – second-highest in the NFC.
The Titans will try for their fourth straight victory over the Saints and third in a row at the Superdome. Jeff Fisher's club has gone 22-10 against the NFC over the past eight seasons.