Hopkins and Lattimore have faced off before in their careers when the Texans played the Saints back in 2019, which proved to be a back-and-forth battle.
Due to Lattimore’s physical play, typically preferring to line up in one-on-one coverage to single out the Texans’ number one target, Hopkins had some uncharacteristic drops on the day.
Throughout the game, Lattimore mostly lined up with about a 5-yard cushion on Hopkins, which he used to build speed when breaking on the ball for a big hit. Things also tended to get a little handsy when Hopkins blocked Lattimore in the run game, with a lot of pushing and shoving before they were eventually forced to be separated on one play.
Ultimately, Hopkins registered 51 yards and a short-yardage TD when matching up against Lattimore in the loss, with 4 receptions on 7 targets and a 119.6 passer rating when targeted.
Hopkins had most of his success on the night against Lattimore with in-breaking routes, including a crisp 10-yard slant to take advantage of the cushion Lattimore gave in coverage in the opening minutes.
Overall, Hopkins ended the night with 8 receptions for 111 receiving yards and 2 TDs on a highly productive day, which Titans fans would like to see him repeat this coming Sunday.
It’s worth noting that Saints head coach Dennis Allen’s zone-heavy defense will attempt to limit the big play against the Tennessee Titans in Week 1, just as they did against Hopkins in their previous matchup.
However, the Titans have a much more potent running game with Derrick Henry in the backfield, which may force the Saints to play tighter to the box and open some better opportunities downfield.
This advantage may open up some opportunity for Tannehill to throw the back-shoulder fade, a route that Hopkins is absolutely masterful at, and the Saints might be extra susceptible to due to the duality of the Titans' offense.
With a few more years under each player’s belt, it’ll be very interesting to see who gets the better of one another in their second go-around. It is also worth watching out for how the Saints divvy up man-to-man cornerback play between Burks and Hopkins since it is somewhat ambiguous who is the true WR1.
A key factor to watch will be whether they focus their efforts on loading the box to slow down Derrick Henry or if they decide to try to defend what is a much upgraded passing game for the Tennessee Titans. I, for one, cannot wait to see how it all plays out.