The New Orleans Saints will once again roll with Andy Dalton as their starter, head coach Dennis Allen announced Friday. This marks Dalton’s third start in a row in place of Jameis Winston, who has been battling a back injury. Winston was able to return to practice this week, but the injury does seem like it needs at least one more week to heal before he returns to lead New Orleans’ offense.
With Dalton under center, the Saints have gone 1-1, which includes a 39-32 win over the Seahawks in Week 5. In those two starters, the 34-year-old veteran has completed 69.2% of his passes with a passer rating of 98.5.
“I feel really good about what we’ve been able to do and kind of where we’re at,” Dalton said Friday regarding his comfort level in the offense with two starts under his belt. “Feel like we’ve found some rhythm in the offense and I feel like we’re in a good place. There’s obviously things that we can keep doing better, but I feel good about where I’m at and what we’ve been able to do.”
Of course, Dalton knows his Week 6 opponent in the Bengals extremely well after beginning his career in Cincinnati in 2011 when the club selected him in the second round out of TCU. Dalton spent the first nine years of his NFL career with the Bengals and started in all 133 regular-season games he played with the franchise. He is also the club’s all-time passing touchdowns leader (204).
While this will be a neat matchup against his former team, this will not be the first time Dalton has faced the Bengals. In fact, this will mark his third game against his former team in as many seasons.
In 2020, Dalton started for the Cowboys and was able to beat the Bengals by 23 points. He was 16 of 23 passing in that game and threw for two touchdowns while sporting a 122.6 passer rating. Last season for the Bears, he was again off to a hot start against Cincy, completing 9 of his 11 passes to go along with a touchdown, but did leave the game in the second quarter due to a knee injury. Chicago did end up winning that game, so Dalton is 2-0 as a starter against his former club.