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Five things to watch for in Saints-Dolphins in London

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  • By Jeremy Bergman NFL.com
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Set your alarms, turn on the telly and have yourself a cuppa. Another early Sunday morning of football is coming your way this weekend.

After Jacksonville's evisceration of the Ravens last week at Wembley Stadium, the NFL returns to the United Kingdom for the second of four games this season, bringing the Miami Dolphins (1-1) and the New Orleans Saints (1-2) into the Greater London area and onto televisions, tablets and devices around the universe.

The game is set to kick off at 9:30 a.m. ET, or 2:30 p.m. GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), and will be broadcast in the States on FOX.

Here's what we'll be watching for when the sun rises on the British Empire on Sunday:

1. Jay Ajayi's homecoming: By far the most prominent active football player for London -- sorry, Jermaine Eluemunor -- Ajayi returns to his native Great Britain to play an NFL regular season game for the first time in his career. The Dolphins running back is one of the game's greatest ambassadors, especially in the U.K., a market the Shield has been targeting for over a decade now. Can Ajayi break out in front of a sympathetic home crowd? After last week's dismal outing, he better. The tailback was stood up by the previously vulnerable Jets run defense and tallied a measly 16 yards on the ground. Ajayi was a little banged up in the loss and is still listed as questionable to play against the Saints with a knee injury, although he is almost guaranteed to suit up. A bounce-back game against a New Orleans run defense that has surrendered at least 119 rushing yards in each of its first three games is expected from Ajayi. Look for the back to improve mightily on last week's career-worst 1.45 YPC clip.

2. Drew dat, still: Don't look now, but Drew Brees, at the ripe ol' age of 38, is still outperforming 90 percent of the league's starting quarterbacks. Through three games, Brees ranks in the top 10 in completion percentage (68.5), passing yards (867), touchdowns (6) and passer rating (109.7), all this despite playing against Mike Zimmer's Vikings, the defending champion Patriots and the Panthers defense, the league's top scoring unit entering Week 3. Plus, he is one of only four starting QBs yet to throw an interception (Tom Brady, Alex Smith, Russell Wilson). Without Brandin Cooks and despite a dysfunctional running game, Brees has thrived in the first quarter of the season, dispersing the ball mostly to second-year stud Michael Thomas and his two top running backs (Mark Ingram, Alvin Kamara) on routes out of the backfield. Buoyed by the likely return of suspended receiver Willie Snead, Brees is slated to have another big week against a Dolphins secondary that struggled to contain Josh McCown and Robby Anderson

3. Take out the trash: Second-year coach Adam Gase had a few choice words for his team after their Week 3 embarrassment, telling reporters he was tired of watching Miami's "garbage" offense. His assessment wasn't that far off. In Jay Cutler's second game under center, the once-retired quarterback polluted the field with off-balance and inaccurate throws and dumb interceptions; Miami's all-star receiving corps wasted their opportunities, dropping most of the balls that did come their way; and as previously mentioned, Ajayi had a rubbish outing. Playing the Saints, who despite offseasons of promises have yet to fix their chronically maligned secondary, is the equivalent of a get-right situation for Miami. But if the Dolphins start slowly as they did against New York, when they began the game with seven straight punts, then we may see Miami recycle its offensive woes and their coach offer a more explicit evaluation.

4. Snap out of it!: Adrian Peterson Watch continues. The unnerved veteran saw nine, 15 and 14 snaps in his first three games with the Saints, while incumbent starter Mark Ingram and flexible rookie Alvin Kamara both saw more. Peterson looks to be the odd man out in the Bayou and could potentially be trade bait if things don't pan out. Taken off the injury report on Friday, Peterson will likely get looks against the Dolphins' top-five rush defense. How many remains the weekly question.

5. South Beach Globetrotters: Are the Dolphins travel-weary? After Hurricane Irma forced the postponement of their Week 1 test, Miami jetted off to Los Angeles for a week ahead of their opener against the Chargers, only to cross the country back to South Florida for practice, up the coast to lose to the Jets, back to the 305, and then across the world's second-largest ocean to play the Saints. That's around 11,300 air miles traveled in less than four weeks (#math), without playing a single home game. You have to wonder if fatigue has already set it in on this team, not even a fourth of the way into the campaign.

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