Cleveland Browns 2022 opponent preview: New Orleans Saints

Saints receiver Michael Thomas comes down with the ball as The New Orleans Saints take on the Cleveland Browns at The Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Sunday, Sept. 16,
Saints receiver Michael Thomas comes down with the ball as The New Orleans Saints take on the Cleveland Browns at The Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Sunday, Sept. 16, /

The Cleveland Browns have a Christmas Eve matchup at home with the New Orleans Saints this season. Here’s a look at their opponent in Week 16.

Following their showdown with the Houston Texans in Week 13, the Cleveland Browns will have two divisional games in a row as they play the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens in Week 14 and 15.

Then in Week 16, they’re facing off with the final team from the NFC South as they host the New Orleans Saints on Christmas Eve.

Here’s a look at the team Cleveland will be facing on that holiday game.

Saints 2021 season

New Orleans started out strong in 2021 with a record of 5-2. This was a bit of a surprise considering they were replacing a future Hall of Famer as Drew Brees retired and Jameis Winston took over.

However, Winston was getting the job done until he suffered a torn ACL. From there, the Saints used Taysom Hill, Trevor Siemian, and Ian Book and were just 4-8 without Winston. Still, they were 9-8 even with their top quarterback going down.

They also didn’t have Michael Thomas all season as their No. 1 wideout was injured for the entire 2021 campaign. The fact they overcame so much spoke volumes on what Sean Payton could do as a head coach.

Key offseason moves

Speaking of Payton, the long-time New Orleans head coach decided to call it a career following the 2021 season and is being replaced by Dennis Allen. The good news is, Allen has been on the staff since 2015 and should be able to keep the scheme similar to what they had during Payton’s tenure.

Outside of the coaching change, the Saints retained Winston, should be getting Thomas back at 100 percent and drafted Chris Olave to give them a No. 2 receiver.

When do the teams meet?

The Saints and Browns meet in Cleveland on Christmas Eve, which is in Week 16 of the 2022 season. The game is scheduled for a 1:00 EST broadcast on CBS.

Last time the Cleveland Browns played New Orleans

The last time these two teams met was in 2018, and it was the second game of the season. Following a tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Browns looked to get into the win column and they did a great job against the favored Saints.

Tyrod Taylor had 246 yards passing and threw a remarkable 47-yard touchdown on a fourth-down play to Antonio Callaway. That pass allowed them to tie the game up at 18 but New Orleans answered with another field goal.

Taylor led the Browns 41-yards down the field on two passes, only to watch as Zane Gonzalez missed a potential game-tying kick from 52-yards out.

Player to watch

As much as the return of Michael Thomas and the addition of Chris Olave will help, the player to watch is still Alvin Kamara. The versatile running back can carve teams apart on the ground as well as through the air.

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He especially thrives with an aggressive defense, which the Browns have. All eyes need to be on Kamara on Christmas Eve to make sure this doesn’t turn into a track meet.