The Redskins will travel to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the second consecutive season as they take on the New Orleans Saints for the Week 5 edition of Monday Night Football.
New Orleans' Key Additions: Signed TE Benjamin Watson (Ravens), S Kurt Coleman (Panthers), CB Patrick Robinson (Eagles), LB Demario Davis (Jets), G Jermon Bushrod (Dolphins), QB Tom Savage (Texans), WR Josh Huff (Eagles), drafted DE Marcus Davenport (UTSA), WR Tre'Quan Smith (UCF).
New Orleans' Key Subtractions: DT Nick Fairley, QB Chase Daniel, G/T Senio Kelemete, OT Zach Strief.
This showdown between what should be two high-flying offenses will be the first time in this upcoming NFL season where the Redskins will be featured on the weekly Monday night finale.
In what was one of the toughest losses of the season for Jay Gruden and company last year, the Saints stormed back from a 15 point deficit in the final six minutes of the game to force overtime, where Will Lutz connected on a 28-yard field goal to give New Orleans' their eighth win of the season while Washington fell by a final of 34-31.
Even in this heartbreaking loss that pushed the Redskins to 4-6, the offense had plenty of positive takeaways from this game.
Samaje Perine feasted on the Saints' talented defensive line of Cameron Jordan and Nick Fairley, compiling more than 100 rushing yards for the second consecutive week, and the Oklahoma product scored the first rushing touchdown of his career in the second quarter as well.
In addition, Josh Doctson had his long-awaited breakout performance against the New Orleans' secondary, recording four receptions for a career-high 81 yards.
The Saints, meanwhile, are coming off their first NFC South division title since 2011, before being eliminated by the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round of the playoffs after Stefon Diggs scored a 61-yard touchdown as time expired.
Head coach Sean Payton's side thought that it was moving on to the NFC Championship Game, as Lutz connected on a 43-yard field goal with just 25 seconds to go on the possession before Diggs' miracle play.
Drew Brees, 39, continues to be on the NFL's premier options at the quarterback position as he begins his 12th season with the team. The Purdue product welcomes back veteran tight end Benjamin Watson, who spent the last two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, to the "Big Easy."
After the departure of Jimmy Graham to the Seattle Seahawks in 2015, Brees established a relationship with Watson that led to a renaissance season for the Georgia product at the age of 35. The Norfolk,Va., native compiled a career-high 825 receiving yards and scored six touchdowns, while Brees led the NFL in passing yards for the sixth time in his career.
Interestingly, this will be Alex Smith's first regular season game in New Orleans since his sophomore season in 2006.
His last game against the Saints was in 2011, where he and the San Francisco 49ers hosted the NFC South champions at Candlestick Park in the divisional round. The Utah product had arguably the best game of his postseason career, recording 299 yards with three passing touchdowns and a key 28-yard run to the endzone to give the 49ers a lead late in the fourth quarter.
One of the major storylines that focused around the Saints' success last season was the team's improvement with its passing defense. After finishing a league worst in allowing nearly 274 yards a game in 2016, Aaron Glenn's secondary pushed themselves up to No.-15 overall in passing defense last season, reducing their average down by nearly 50 yards a game.
With the new additions to their offense, the Redskins will look to exploit a secondary that is shifting away from its narrative of being a defense that was consistently one the NFL's worst.
Washington will enter this game on Oct. 8 well-rested after being one of two teams to serve its bye week in Week 4.