Coming off a dominant Week 2 vs. Zach Wilson and the New York Jets, the New England Patriots defense will have another chance to shine vs. turnover-prone Jameis Winston and the New Orleans Saints.
Winston is coming off a loss to the Carolina Panthers in which he threw for only 111 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback has thrown 90 interceptions and fumbled 50 times in 78 career games.
Despite those eye-opening turnover totals, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick isn't underestimating Winston heading into their Week 3 showdown.
“He’s a really good quarterback," Belichick said Wednesday. "He threw for 5,000 yards in Tampa, so it’s not like this guy hasn’t been productive. He’s big. He’s strong. He’s accurate. He’s got good touch on the ball. The offense that he ran in Tampa was a lot different than the offense he’s running in New Orleans. But fundamentally this a big strong guy who can throw the ball accurately.
"He’s very good down the field. He’s a tough guy to tackle. He’s strong in the pocket. He can make every throw on the field. He’s pretty good.”
Winston is known for taking shots down the field, but he also can be a sneaky threat in the run game. The first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft has 1,094 rushing yards and 11 TDs via the ground in his career.
“If you’ve seen him run with the ball, I don’t know why you’d want him to run with the ball in space," Belichick added. "I don’t think that’s a good idea at all. He’s hard to tackle. He’s fast. Runs over people. I don’t think you want him running wild in your secondary.”
It's worth noting Winston threw for five touchdowns and zero picks during the Saints' Week 1 blowout of the Green Bay Packers, so it'll be interesting to see which version of the veteran QB will show up in Foxboro on Sunday. If it's last week's edition, we could be looking at a repeat performance from a Pats defense that picked Wilson off four times in a 25-6 win.
Patriots-Saints is set for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff at Gillette Stadium.