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How Saints, Redskins, Cardinals can pull off Week 3 upsets

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Heading into Week 3, the New Orleans Saints (+5.5), Washington Redskins (+3) and Arizona Cardinals (+3) are all listed as underdogs. And the Redskins and Cardinals are playing at home in prime time.

So, how can each pull off an upset this weekend? Let's think like a coach today and break down three keys for each team.


How the Saints can upset the Panthers

Sunday: 1 p.m. ET, Fox | Point spread: CAR by 5.5

1. Have a plan against Kelvin Benjamin

Why it's important: This Saints defense has played ultra-poor football over the first two weeks of the season, giving up a total of 777 yards passing. And these young New Orleans defensive backs have to prep for Benjamin to see an increase in targets with tight end Greg Olsen now down with a foot injury. This group -- especially at cornerback -- better have a plan to challenge Benjamin on inside cuts, middle-of-the-field throws and the quick game off the Panthers' run-pass option (RPO) schemes. They're coming.

How you do it: I would avoid any type of "bail" technique -- when defenders open their hips and sink at the snap -- or soft, off-man looks versus Benjamin. Forget it. Walk up in press and challenge him. That has to happen to disrupt the release and to play to the hip on the 12-15 yard dig routes, smash routes, crossers and slants. He wants to work back inside of the numbers and use his size to shield defenders from the ball. And if the Saints do play some Cover 2, then the cornerbacks have to get hands on him. If they don't, Benjamin is going to find those open windows over the top of the linebackers. The key here, regardless of technique, is physical play from the Saints' secondary. Compete.