Tag Archives: New Orleans Saints

NFL Week 7 Odds, Predictions and Picks against the spread

John Morgan
October 22, 2017 at 6:00 am ET

NFL Week 7 is highlighted by the most hyped and anticipated game of the 2017 season. The Atlanta Falcons travel to Foxborough for only the second time this millennium, in a rematch of the greatest Super Bowl in NFL history. The Patriots lead the all-time series 8-6 and are 5-0 in the Belichick-Brady era. New England was listed as a 3½ point favorite for most of the week, with that number dropping to three late Friday. As of Saturday night 63% of the money bet on the spread is taking the Falcons to cover, 74% of the money line is on Atlanta, and 77% is on the point total going over 56½ points.

Ironically the Pats-Falcons game will end up being no more than the second most exciting game of the week. In a departure from the usual Thursday night fare, NFL fans were treated to a wild and stunning ending to the week’s first game. If seven lead changes weren’t enough, consider the final half minute of the Raiders closing drive to beat Kansas City.

  • Completion on 4th and 11 for a first down.
  • Two incomplete passes.
  • Touchdown pass to tie the game.
  • Scoring play reviewed; call reversed, out of bounds inside the one yard line.
  • Ten second runoff; game clock down to 0:03 seconds.
  • Pass completed for touchdown.
  • Penalty, offensive pass interference; TD nullified, ten yard penalty.
  • Pass incomplete, clock at 0:00.
  • Penalty on defense; Raiders get an untimed down.
  • Pass again incomplete.
  • Another penalty on KC, another untimed play for Oakland.
  • Pass complete for touchdown to tie the game.
  • Extra point good to win the game.

As a whole the public tends to place more money on the favorite than on the underdog. Those that bet the chalk in week six lost their shirt. Favorites covered the spread in a mere three games last week, and underdogs won nine of those 14 games straight up. Both home teams favored by 13½ lost (Atlanta to Miami and Denver to the Giants). In addition Minnesota knocked out Green Bay, Pittsburgh handed Kansas City their first loss, and the Chargers (at Oakland) and Bears (at Baltimore) pulled off road upsets. The 2017 has provided plenty of inconsistency, with teams looking strong one week and bad the next.

Week 7 is full of games that are close matchups, at least on paper. While week six had what appeared to be plenty of blowouts (and we saw how that turned out), there are zero games with a spread of more than six points this week. Road teams are favored nearly as often as home team, accounting for many of those low odds. New Orleans at Green Bay and Tampa Bay at Buffalo appear to be the most watchable of the eight games in the early time slot. Cincinnati at Pittsburgh was flexed to a later kickoff to help improve the quality of the late afternoon games. Another good option as a prelude to the Pats-Falcons game is Denver at the Chargers. Atlanta at New England is of course the must-watch game on Sunday night. Monday night features Carson Wentz and Philadelphia hosting Washington. The Eagles went on the road to defeat Carolina last week, and now own the NFL’s best record at 5-1.

 

Early Games on CBS

3-3 Tennessee Titans at 0-6 Cleveland Browns
Titans favored by 6; over/under 45½; money line -250, +210

The Titans have displayed an annoying penchant for playing down to the level of their opponents. However, this is the Browns we are talking about. Even if Tennessee starts slow – as they often do – the Titans should still be able to win this game with less than 100% productivity.

Pick: Titans 24, Browns 20; Cleveland +6

 

3-3 Jacksonville Jaguars at 2-4 Indianapolis Colts
Jaguars favored by 3; over/under 43½; money line -165, +145

The Colts are unable to finish games, a sign of substandard coaching. Jacksonville failed to live up to lofty expectations in 2016, but this season their defense (18.3 ppg, 312 ypg) is carrying the Jags to playoff contention.

Pick: Jaguars 27, Colts 17; Jacksonville -3.

 

3-3 Baltimore Ravens at 4-2 Minnesota Vikings
Vikings favored by 5½; over/under 38½; money line -250, +210

Don’t be fooled by Baltimore’s record. Their wins were against the Raiders without Derek Carr, the Browns, and a Bengal team still in preseason form in week one. The Ravens home loss last week to the lowly Bears was not an anomaly.

Pick: Vikings 24, Ravens 13; Minnesota -5½

 

4-2 Carolina Panthers at 2-4 Chicago Bears
Panthers favored by 3; over/under 41; money line -170, +150

So when the dust all settled this game was cross flexed from Fox to CBS and the Miami-Jets game went from CBS to Fox. Why bother? Is anybody outside of those four fan bases going to watch either game? Mitch Trubisky looks like he will become a good NFL quarterback. But for this game the Bears are facing a well rested Panther team wanting to rid themselves of the taste of last week’s defeat. Beating the Ravens doesn’t really count for much; the Bears still have a long ways to go before becoming a contender.

Pick: Panthers 24, Bears 17; Panthers -3

 

Early Games on Fox

3-3 New York Jets at 3-2 Miami Dolphins
Dolphins favored by 3; over/under 38; money line -175, +155

Adam Gase finally figured out that Jay Cutler (an NFL-worst 5.2 yards per pass attempt) was not going to lead the Dolphins to many victories. Miami made no pretense what their plan was, lining up in two or three tight end formations, and was able run the ball effectively in last week’s win at Atlanta. Expect more of the same in this game. Woody Hayes would love this game.

Pick: Dolphins 17, Jets 16; Jets +3, under 38

 

2-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 3-2 Buffalo Bills
Bills favored by 3; over/under 45; money line -150, +130

Jameis Winston will get the start for the Bucs, despite his bum shoulder. Tampa Bay’s defense has underachieved this season, but they finally get the heart of their D – linebackers LaVonte David and Kwon Alexander – healthy and on the field together. Their productivity is key, as Buffalo RB LeSean McCoy has bounced back from a couple of sub-par games with 98 yards from scrimmage in the win at Atlanta, and 99 yards at Cincinnati.

Pick: Bucs 20, Bills 16; Tampa Bay +3; under 45

 

3-2 New Orleans Saints at 4-2 Green Bay Packers
Saints favored by 4; over/under 47½; money line -210 +180

The Saints look for their fourth straight win while Green Bay QB Brent Hundley gets his first NFL start. Unfortunately for him the New Orleans defense has risen from the dead, forcing nine takeaways this season. On the other side of the ball the Saints have discovered a running game – ironically, with incumbent Mark Ingram rather than Adrian Peterson.

Pick: Saints 31-17; New Orleans -4

 

3-3 Arizona Cardinals ‘at’ 4-2 Los Angeles Rams, in London
Rams favored by 3; over/under 45½; money line -160, +140

Adrian Peterson had a big game in his debut last week, but don’t expect a repeat performance. The Arizona offensive line is still awful, and the Ram defense is much better than Tampa Bay’s injury riddled D. Jared Goff and the LA offense (a league-best 29.8 points per game) should give European NFL fans plenty of scoring to cheer for. Arizona’s defense (26.3 ppg) is nowhere near as formidable as they had been the previous four years.

Pick: Rams 31, Cardinals 24; Los Angeles -3

 

Late Afternoon Games

2-3 Dallas at 0-6 San Francisco 49ers, 4:00 ET on Fox
Cowboys favored by 6; over/under 48½; money line -265, +225

The Cowboys have not lived up to pre-season expectations, despite being able to play Ezekiel Elliott. After losing five straight games by a field goal or less, the Niners finally get their first W.

Pick: 49ers 24-21; San Fran +6

 

4-2 Pittsburgh Steelers at 2-3 Cincinnati Bengals, 4:30 ET on CBS
Steelers favored by 5½; over/under 40½; money line -250, +210

It is amazing to consider the possibility that Cincinnati, who looked awful in their first two games, could be in first place in the AFC North with a victory. Steeler WR Martavis Bryant, who asked to be traded due to his role in the offense, could have a big game here. In five games against the Bengals Bryant has three touchdowns, catching 21 out of 32 passes thrown his way for 257 yards.

Pick: Steelers 24-20; Cincinnati +5½

 

3-2 Seattle Seahawks at 1-5 New York Giants, 4:30 ET on CBS
Seahawks favored by 4; over/under 39½; money line -210, +180

Seattle’s offensive line has caused problems for their offense. Their defense is still a force, which is bad news for an injury ravaged Giants squad.

Pick: Seahawks 24-13; Seattle -4

 

3-2 Denver Broncos at 2-4 Los Angeles Chargers, 4:30 ET on CBS
Even odds (pick’em); over/under 40½; money line -110, -110

The threat of Demaryius Thomas (10 catches, 133 yards last week) will enable CJ Anderson to run the ball. The Chargers will do what they do best: lose a close game.

Pick: Broncos 24-20; Denver (pk)

 

Prime Time Games

3-2 Atlanta Falcons at 4-2 New England Patriots, Sunday 8:30 ET on NBC
Patriots favored by 3; over/under 56½; money line -160, +140

Atlanta’s offense presents difficult matchups for the Patriot defense. The Falcons get a very tiny bit of revenge, but the Super Bowl LI legacy will live long after this game is forgotten.

Pick: Falcons 31, Patriots 27; Atlanta +3

 

3-2 Washington Redskins at 5-1 Philadelphia Eagles, Monday 8:30 pm ET on espn
Eagles favored by 4½; over/under 49; money line -225, +185

Philly is clicking on all cylinders right now. Washington on the other hand is banged up, with injuries to both corners.

Pick: Eagles 30-20; Philadelphia -4½

 

Best Bets:
Jaguars -3
Saints -4
49ers +6
Seahawks -4
Bucs-Bills under 45
Eagles -4½
Jets-Dolphins under 38

 

NFL Week 6 Odds, Predictions and Picks against the spread

John Morgan
October 15, 2017 at 6:00 am ET

NFL Week 6 kicked off with an oddity. Lo and behold, we had a quality Thursday night game between a pair of teams with winning (both 4-1) records. Philadelphia went on the road and defeated Carolina in Charlotte 28-23. Carson Wentz overcame a slow start and threw three touchdowns – and more importantly, no interceptions. The Eagle defensive front seven won the line of scrimmage against the Carolina offensive line. Cam Newton had thrown for 671 yards and six touchdowns over his last two games, but the Philly defense harassed him all night. With a 5-1 record and possessing an impressive road victory, the Eagles are a legitimate candidate to represent the NFC in Super Bowl 52. Meanwhile, one high strung idiot has given Panther fans an embarrassing reputation.

 

★★★★★ — Game of the Week

3-2 Pittsburgh Steelers at 5-0 Kansas City Chiefs
4:25 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Tony Romo
Broadcast in all markets except Arizona, California, Nevada and southern Oregon.
Chiefs favored by 4; over/under 47; Money Line KC -205, Pitt +175

Right now Alex Smith is the NFL MVP for 2017. The previously maligned quarterback is leading the league in completion percentage, yards per pass attempt and passer rating. The additions of Tyreek Hill in 2016 and rookie Kareem Hunt this year certainly help as well. The Pittsburgh defensive front seven is nothing special and won’t be able to handle that duo. Whispers about the demise of 35 year old Ben Roethlisberger (6 TD, 7 INT) will gain momentum this week in Iron City.

Prediction: Chiefs 27, Steelers 20
Chiefs -4

 

★★★★ — Good Games

3-2 New England Patriots at 3-2 New York Jets
1:00 pm ET on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Broadcast in all markets except those airing the Browns-Texans and Dolphins-Falcons games. Also not broadcast in DC, Baltimore, Minneapolis and New Orleans due to NFL blackout rules.
Patriots favored by 9½; over/under 47½; Money Line NWE -475, NYJ +375

The Jets have thrived when they don’t have to rely on Josh McCown and the league’s worst group of receivers. On the other hand the Patriot pass defense has been suspect, to put it mildly. On top of that the Pats will be without starting corners Stephon Gilmore (concussion) and Eric Rowe (groin). It will be interesting to see what Matt Patricia game plans Sunday. Nickel situations would presumably call for safety Duron Harmon. After Malcolm Butler and Jonathan Jones the only other corner is Johnson Bademosi, who has yet to play a defensive snap this season.

Prediction: Patriots 27, Jets 24
Jets +9½

 

4-1 Green Bay Packers at 3-2 Minnesota Vikings
1:00 pm ET on Fox; Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman
Broadcast in most of the US; see the five other games on Fox for exceptions.
Packers favored by 3; over/under 45; Money Line GB -175, Min +155

This would be a great game if the two teams were at full strength, but that is not the case. QB Case Keenum has filled in admirably for Sam Bradford, but the Vikes could really use Dalvin Cook against this Green Bay defense. WR Adam Thielen has played well, but with Stefon Diggs out the Packer defense can double team him all day.

Prediction: Packers 31, Vikings 21
Packers -3 (two units)

 

3-2 Los Angeles Rams at 3-2 Jacksonville Jaguars
4:05 pm ET on Fox; Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth
Broadcast in Boston, southern California, Jacksonville, Houston, Miami, New York City, Ohio (except Cincinnati) and West Palm Beach.
Jaguars favored by 2½; over/under 42½; Money Line Jax -145, Rams +125

Here we are in mid-October, and both the Rams and Jags have winning records. Jacksonville is a complete enigma. They rank first in both sacks and interceptions, second in passes defensed, third in passing yards allowed, and sixth in quarterback hits. The Jaguars looked unbeatable in wins over the Texans, Ravens and Steelers. Problem is that each victory was followed by a poor game (Titans, Jets). Following that pattern the Jags are due for another dud. Rams QB Jared Goff has made remarkable progress in his second season, and doesn’t make the mistakes that Blake Bortles does. Jacksonville is playing at home and with a better defense though, and finally wins consecutive games.

Prediction: Jaguars 24, Rams 17
Jaguars -2½</span

 

★★★ — Decent Games

3-2 Detroit Lions at 2-2 New Orleans Saints
1:00 pm ET on Fox; Dan Hellie, Chris Spielman
Broadcast in Louisiana, Michigan and Mississippi.
Saints favored by 5; over/under 50; Money Line NOR -215, Det +185

QB Matthew Stafford is dealing with a bum ankle, which is good news for Saints DE Cameron Jordan. Detroit will attempt to get RB Ameer Abdullah rolling against a New Orleans defense that is allowing 4.5 yards per carry. The Lions will also miss be without DT Haloti Ngata for the rest of the season, which certainly does not help when facing Drew Brees.

Prediction: Saints 27, Lions 24
Lions +5

 

1-4 Los Angeles Chargers at 2-3 Oakland Raiders
4:25 pm ET on CBS; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Broadcast in Arizona, California, Nevada and southern Oregon.
Raiders favored by 3; over/under 50½; Money Line Oak -175, LAC +155

Derek Carr may be less than 100%, but that’s still great news for the Raiders. EJ Manuel’s passes were late and slow, leaving Oakland receivers in peril last week. The LAC run defense is non existent, allowing 5.0 yards per carry and a league worst 161 yards per game. In 2016 the Chargers lost too many winnable games, so they changed head coaches. Nothing has changed so far this year. The Bolts were fortunate to finally win a game they tried to give away last week, escaping with a narrow victory against the depleted Giants. Sunday they return to their standard format of losing a close game. Note: the line has dropped from 5½-6 points on Friday to 3-3½ point on Saturday. I liked the Chargers when the number was at that high point, but at just three I would go with the Raiders.

Prediction: Raiders 28, Chargers 24
Raiders -3

 

2-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 2-3 Arizona Cardinals
4:05 pm ET on Fox; Kenny Albert, Charles Davis
Broadcast in Arizona, Atlanta and Florida (except Jacksonville, Miami and West Palm Beach).
Bucs favored by 1½; over/under 45½; Money Line Bucs -125, Ariz +105

Adrian Peterson talked his way out of New Orleans, where he was a bad fit. While he is an upgrade over Chris Johnson, Arizona still has no running game due to their porous offensive line. The Cardinals best bet is to just use him as a decoy on play action passes. Just throw the ball to whomever is being covered by Buccaneer CB Vernon Hargreaves, who gives the opposition a 12 yard cushion yet still manages to get beat deep. Cardinal CB Patrick Peterson versus Buc WR Mike Evans makes this game watchable. If Tampa Bay can make some field goals for a change they could win this game.

Prediction: Cardinals 23, Buccaneers 20
Cardinals +1½

 

★★ — Meh Games

0-5 Cleveland Browns at 2-3 Houston Texans
1:00 pm ET on CBS; Andrew Catalon, James Lofton
Broadcast in Ohio, eastern Kentucky, Tennessee (except Memphis), Texas, Jacksonville and Shreveport.
Texans favored by 9; over/under 47; Money Line Hou -450, Cle +350

The Texans are now without both JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus. There is still Jadeveon Clowney, but Joe Thomas should be able to neutralize his production. Houston QB DeShaun Watson has been outstanding, and should be able to beat Cleveland LB Jamie Collins when he decides to run. Despite the losses of defensive playmakers, I’ll take the team with Watson at quarterback over the one with Kevin Hogan.

Prediction: Texans 31, Browns 21
Texans -9

 

2-2 Miami Dolphins at 3-1 Atlanta Falcons
1:00 pm ET on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Broadcast in most of the southeast: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana (except Shreveport and New Orleans) and Florida (except Jacksonville).
Falcons favored by 13; over/under 45½; Money Line Atl -900, Mia +600

Atlanta was aided by questionable officiating in a pair of early season victories; now they are helped out by their schedule. Injuries are never a good thing, but their bye last week came at the best possible time. The Falcons should get WR Julio Jones and OLB Vic Beasley back for Sunday’s game, though WR Mohammed Sanu is out. Regardless of who suits up, it is difficult to envision a scenario where Miami wins. The Dolphins are averaging an NFL-worst 10.3 points per game; how can they keep pace with the Falcons? On top of that the Fins are dealing with the aftermath of a scandal involving a coach, and are on the verge of a quarterback controversy.

Prediction: Falcons 27, Dolphins 10
Falcons -13

 

1-4 Chicago Bears at 3-2 Baltimore Ravens
1:00 pm ET on Fox; Sam Rosen, Ronde Barber
Broadcast in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland and western Pennsylvania.
Ravens favored by 6½; over/under 39½; Money Line Bal -300, Chi +250

Another week, another pushover for the Ravens. Baltimore has victories over Cincinnati (before the Bengals fired their OC), Cleveland and Oakland (with EJ Manuel at QB). In their two other games the Ravens were outscored 70-16. Baltimore will be in first place in the AFC North on Sunday night, but it’s a façade. Perhaps Jordan Richard can run the ball effectively to keep the game close. Chicago rookie QB Mitch Trubisky has no receivers who can catch the ball.

Prediction: Ravens 24, Bears 17
Ravens -6½

 

0-5 San Francisco 49ers at 2-2 Washington Redskins
1:00 pm ET on Fox; Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston
Broadcast in northern California, DC, North Carolina, eastern Pennsylvania, Virginia and Reno NV.
Redskins favored by 11; over/under 46½; Money Line Wash -600, SF +450

In my opinion three consecutive road games should be abolished in the NFL. It simply puts to much of a burden on that team’s ability to prepare, and inevitably results in a sloppy game. Here we are with SF, an already talented-deficient team, having to overcome that obstacle against a rested club. The Washington defense has performed better than anticipated this year, while the Niners are managing to score just 17.8 points per game (25th). Throw in possible dissension over the release of Navorro Bowman, and we have the recipe for an ugly blowout. The Niners have been competitive; each of their last four games has been decided by a field goal or less. Consecutive overtime losses have to be incredibly frustrating though.

Prediction: Redskins 31, Niners 13
Redskins -11

 

0-5 New York Giants at 3-1 Denver Broncos
8:30 pm ET Sunday on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
Broncos favored by 12; over/under 39; Money Line Den -700, NYG +500

Let’s see, the Giants can’t stop the run or the pass. They are down four receivers. Their offensive line stinks. In the span of five weeks they have gone from a supposed Super Bowl contender to a team planning on the 2018 draft. Now they have to travel 1800 miles and play 5280 feet above sea level. Against a well rested team that ranks first in the NFL in defense (261 yards per game).

Considering what a hypocrite Giant owner John Mara is, I shed no tears. The puppet master pulling Roger Goodell’s strings for his own betterment thought he was all set when he had the commissioner suspend Ezekiel Elliot. Watching his team fail so miserably should bring a smile to every football fan’s face.

Prediction: Broncos 34, Giants 10
Broncos -12 (two units)

 

— Bottom of the Barrel

2-3 Indianapolis Colts at 2-3 Tennessee Titans
8:30 pm ET Monday on espn; Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden
No lines at this point in time due to uncertainty on status of Marcus Mariota.

If Mariota plays: Titans 24, Colts 20
If Cassel plays: Colts 24, Titans 17

 

Teaser (three units):
Broncos -6
Redskins -5

 

NFL Week 7 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead’ Betting Lines: Pats favored by 4 vs Falcons

John Morgan
October 12, 2017 at 6:00 am ET

The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook has published their latest NFL Advanced Betting Lines. These early odds are posted prior to the following week’s games, including the Thursday Night Football game. Also known as Look-Ahead lines, they give the adventurous sports fan an opportunity to wager on games up to twelve days away. If you are in Vegas and have a good feeling about a matchup further down the road, the Westgate offers an opportunity to get a jump on odds that could be less favorable after Sunday’s games.

Week 7 is highlighted by a rematch of what was possibly the greatest championship game in pro sports history. The Atlanta Falcons will travel to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots a week from Sunday night. The professional handicappers at the Westgate have listed the defending champs as four point favorites for the moment.

Since home field accounts for about a three point advantage on NFL betting lines, that means the Pats would be considered to be slightly (one point) better than Atlanta on a neutral field. That may come as a bit of a surprise to those who have witnessed the performance of New England’s defense this season. On the other hand the Falcons had issues to deal with as well after losing to Buffalo. In spite of extra time to recuperate after last week’s bye, Atlanta still had nine players on this week’s initial injury report. Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (hamstring), defensive tackle Courtney Upshaw (ankle/knee), wide receiver Justin Hardy (illness) and kicker Matt Bryant (back) did not participate in practice on Wednesday. Wide receiver Julio Jones (hip) was limited, as was outside linebacker Vic Beasley. Atlanta’s premier pass rusher has missed the last two games with a hamstring strain/tear.

Aside from the Sunday night showdown, NFL week 7 does have other games of note. Kansas City is at Oakland for one of those rare Thursday night games worth watching. New Orleans travels to Green Bay in the early Sunday time slot, and the Broncos play the Chargers late Sunday afternoon. The week wraps up with the Eagles hosting Washington for what should be a good Monday night game.

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati has been flexed from a 1:00 pm kickoff to 4:25. That may have been done to mask what was supposed to be a good game in that late afternoon time slot. The 0-5 Giants, now depleted of most of their wide receivers, are the week’s biggest underdogs at 7½ points – despite playing at home. Fortunately for Seattle fans that Seahawks-Giants game – which was originally slated to be the premier game for CBS – will remain in the late time slot. In other programming notes Carolina at Chicago moves from Fox to CBS; the Jets-Dolphins game will be found on Fox rather than CBS.

NFL Week 7 Early Odds

Thursday Oct 19 at 8:30 pm ET on CBS
Kansas City Chiefs (-2½) at Oakland Raiders

Sunday Oct 22 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Tennessee Titans (off) at Cleveland Browns
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) at Indianapolis Colts
Baltimore Ravens at Minnesota Vikings (-3)
Carolina Panthers (-4½) at Chicago Bears

Sunday Oct 22 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-4½)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Buffalo Bills (-2)
New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers (-6½)
Arizona Cardinals ‘at’ Los Angeles Rams (-3) in London

Sunday Oct 22 late afternoon games
Dallas Cowboys (-4½) at San Francisco 49ers, 4:00 pm ET on Fox
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7), 4:30 pm ET on CBS
Seattle Seahawks (-7½) at New York Giants, 4:30 pm ET on CBS
Denver Broncos (-2½) at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:30 pm ET on CBS

Prime Time Games, 8:30 pm ET
Atlanta Falcons at New England Patriots (-4), Sun Oct 22 on NBC
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles (-6½), Mon Oct 23 on espn

Week 7 Byes
Detroit Lions
Houston Texans

 

Patriots Fourth And Two Podcast: Texans vs. Patriots Preview

Russ Goldman
September 19, 2017 at 12:13 pm ET

In this episode we previewed the upcoming game for the Patriots against the Texans. However, we started the show by looking back at the Patriots victory against the Saints.

Patriots, Brady Answer the Bell, Smother Saints 36-20 Observations

Steve Balestrieri
September 17, 2017 at 6:18 pm ET

Ok, now everyone can back away from the ledge. The Patriots did just what they needed to do after a bad performance in the Week 1 loss to the Chiefs, they dominated the game on offense and the Saints defense had on answers for the Patriots offense as the team ran out for 30 points in a pivotal first half and cruised to an easy win on the road.

It wasn’t all pretty, there are still several areas to tighten up on, but as we’ve seen for years with Bill Belichick and this team, it is always done be degrees and this team was infinitely better than the team that stepped on the field 10 days ago.

So after Buffalo thudded back to earth in Carolina, the Patriots find themselves tied with Buffalo at the top of the AFC East at 1-1. Miami and the Jets are still playing at this point although the Jets are trailing as we speak.  Here are some other observations on this one:

Tom Brady Skewers Saints “D”: We talked coming into this game that we’d be shocked if this offense didn’t score between 30-35 points. I predicted a 34-24 win. They actually went a bit more than that and left some points on the field in the process.

Brady entered the game with just three healthy wide receivers and put on an absolute clinic in the first quarter throwing for 177 yards and three touchdowns.

Brady overall was surgical, completing 30-39 for 447 yards and three touchdowns, no interceptions, no interceptions with a passer rating of 139.6

He went to his running backs more in this one, mostly James White and completed 13 passes for 143 yards to the backs who stepped up big time in the passing game this week. Brady was frequently under duress but stood tall in the pocket and delivered. Despite being short of WRs today, Brady completed passes to nine different players today.

Defense Steps Up: It still is far from what they’ll expect later in the season, but it is only Week 2. The defense was gashed a week ago by the Chiefs, and all week the lament was “what is Drew Brees and the Saints going to do?” Well, the defense stepped up big, especially in the running game. New Orleans ran for 81 yards, helped by a big run on the last play of the game by Mark Ingram. But that was much, much better for Matt Patricia’s unit. Take away that last run which skewed the stats and the Saints averaged 3.3. Yards per Rush.

Anytime you can go to New Orleans and hold Drew Brees and the Saints to two touchdowns, you’ve done your job. And this defense definitely did that today. They still need to work on their communications for the rub routes and pick plays but overall this was a much better effort.

Minnesota is supposed to have one of the best defenses in the NFL. They allowed 19 points at home to New Orleans. This same Saints offense at home where they are much more effective scored just one more point. Mission accomplished.

Gronk Has a Big Game Before Injuring Groin: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski heard the talk about him supposedly losing a step this week after Eric Berry did a masterful job of slowing him down this week.

He too, answered the bell this week, hauling in six passes for 116 yards and a score, including his broken play 53-yard touchdown where it was vintage Gronkowski. He got free down the sideline, got the pass and shook off a tackle and then the big man rumbled into the end zone for a score and treating the fans to the first Gronk spike since Week 8 a year ago.

He then left the game and running another seam route and taking the ball deep into New Orleans territory he went down awkwardly and went straight into the medical tent. He was seen later pedaling the exercise bike on the sideline. We’ll have to see what transpires this week on the Wednesday practice and injury report.

Situational Football Pays Off: One thing we always love to watch in practice is the team practicing their situational football scenarios. Bill Belichick calls out downs, distances and time on the clock and the team has to respond. No one does it more and better than the Pats.

Today was a prime example of this. After stopping the Saints just before the half, the Patriots were driving and in a position to score to go up big at halftime. Brady led them down the field and on third down he scrambled but came up two yards short of a first down.

The reacted perfectly. The kicking unit ran on the field, the offense got off and Stephen Gostkowski had time to get set and boot a field goal to end the half that put the team up 30-13 at the break. It was a huge switch in momentum and was a prime example of why they practice those plays.

Deatrich Wise Steps Up Nicely in His Second Game: The rookie defensive lineman got a ton of reps today. Looking at the defensive line, there was a ton of youth out there at times with Wise, Adam Butler and Trey Flowers providing the pass rush.

Wise finished with two tackles, a sack and five QB hits on Brees. The young lineman from Arkansas had a very good summer and is off to a very good start in his NFL career. The pass rush wasn’t great today, especially considering the state of the Saints offensive line but it was good enough.

Cassius Marsh only had a few snaps but got some good pressure as well. His coming off the left end saved a touchdown as Brees had to unload the ball early and his pass was short, with his wide receiver open in the end zone.

Offensive Line Didn’t Play Well: The offensive line play will be an area where the coaches will try to settle things down this week, with Houston coming into town. Brady was under pressure far too often although they only sacked him twice. Nate Solder, in particular, struggled with Cameron Jordan.

But they also had a mixed bag in the running game. Overall the Patriots managed 119 yards on the ground which is good but only for a 3.8 yard per carry average. The run blocking will have to be better as we go on but again when you score 36 points and run up 555 yards on offense, there aren’t too many dings against the offense. However, the coaches will point to the 3 of 7 in the red zone as a teaching point this week.

Call the MASH Unit: The injuries continue to pile up. New England entered the game with just three healthy wide receivers and had two of them plus Gronkowski going down. Chris Hogan looked like he had a thigh injury and Phillip Dorsett also came up limping in what looked to be an ankle or foot problem.

Eric Rowe was injured which opened the door for Jonathan Jones to come in and he played very well, breaking up a couple of passes, one in the end zone on a very head’s up play. Rex Burkhead suffered a rib injury and left the game. It will be interesting to see who is healthy enough to go next week against Houston.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

NFL Week 2 Odds, TV Info and Predictions

John Morgan
at 7:00 am ET

After an insipid Thursday night abomination, the rest of NFL week two gets underway on Sunday. The Patriots at New Orleans highlights the early games, in a matchup featuring a pair of future Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Dallas at Denver is the best late afternoon game, unless you enjoy watching the Jets getting pounded at Oakland. The best game of the week comes on Sunday night with Green Bay at Atlanta in a rematch of last season’s NFC championship. Week two wraps up with Detroit at the Giants on Monday night.

For specific information on what games are being broadcast in your locale, please check out 506 Sports NFL Maps.

 

Sunday Sept 17, 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars
Broadcast in Tennessee, northern Florida and southern Georgia.
Titans favored by 1; point total 41½

Let’s pump the brakes a bit on the Jaguars bandwagon. Their defense was superb last week, but that Houston offensive line was a sieve. Tennessee has a better QB, offensive line and running game than Jacksonville. Tough call here but I’ll give a slight lean to the Titans as the jags fall back to earth.
Titans 20, Jaguars 17

 

Sunday Sept 17, 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Andrew Catalon, James Lofton
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
Broadcast in DC, Maryland, central PA, West Virginia, Ohio and eastern Kentucky.
Ravens -8½; o/u 39

Baltimore collected five turnovers last week, but that was against a Bengal offense that has not scored a touchdown after 120 minutes of football. On the other hand the Browns may have a bit of a letdown after gearing up all offseason for the Steelers in week one. While I am not sold on the Ravens, I don’t know if I can trust the Browns to be competitive in consecutive weeks.
Ravens 24, Browns 17

 

Sunday Sept 17, 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers
Broadcast in western New York, Virginia and the Carolinas.
Panthers -7; o/u 43

Buffalo beat the pitiful Jets at home last week, but did so in less than convincing fashion. Carolina’s defense should shut down the Bills, The Panthers roll in their home opener as they try to revert to their 2015 form.
Panthers 24, Bills 13

 

Sunday Sept 17, 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Tony Romo
New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints
Available in most markets that don’t have a local team playing at the same time.
Patriots -6½; o/u 57

The idiotic talk of a 19-0 season thankfully dissipated quickly in New England. The Patriots are already a patchwork team due to injuries, but the New Orleans defense is just what the doctor ordered for the Pats. Now that the spread is below seven points I like New England here, despite the lack of options at WR.
Patriots 34, Saints 27

 

Sunday Sept 17, 1:00 pm ET on Fox; Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston
Arizona Cardinals at Indianapolis Colts
Broadcast in Arizona and Indiana.
Cardinals -7; o/u 44
Carson Palmer is toast, and RB David Johnson is out for two months. Despite his short time with the Colts, former third string QB Jacoby Brissett is a huge upgrade over Scott Tolzein. Despite all of that the Cardinal defense should dominate and Arizona wins easily.
Cardinals 27, Colts 16

 

Sunday Sept 17, 1:00 pm ET on Fox; Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis
Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs
Broadcast in eastern NY, eastern PA, and most states west of the Mississippi.
Chiefs -5½; o/u 47½

With extra time to prepare and this being their home opener, KC should have no letdown after last week’s win in Foxboro. The Chiefs defense should be able to contain Carson Wentz while Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill prove to be too much for a pretty good Philly defense.
Chiefs 27, Eagles 17

 

Sunday Sept 17, 1:00 pm ET on Fox; Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber
Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers
Broadcast in most of New England, the Rust Belt, and the Northern Plains.
Steelers -6½; o/u 44½

The Steelers are a much better team at home than on the road, so disregard last week’s narrow victory. Even if Sam Bradford (knees) can play, I’ll take the combination of Big Ben, Bell and Brown in a home opener over the Vikes.
Steelers 27, Vikings 17

 

Sunday Sept 17, 1:00 pm ET on Fox; Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth
Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Broadcast in most of the southeast, and northern Illinois.
Bucs -6½; o/u 43½

While Mike Glennon would love to return to Tampa and defeat his former team, the problem is that he’s more suited to being a backup QB – and the Bucs know his tendencies inside and out. Jameis Winston now has DeSean Jackson as an option if Mike Evans is double covered, a problem the Chicago defense has no answer for.
Buccaneers 31, Bears 14

 

Sunday Sept 17, 4:05 pm ET on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers
Broadcast in south and central Florida, southern California and Fargo.
Chargers -3½; o/u 45½

With this being their first game of the year, the west coast travel should not be an issue for Miami. I’m not yet ready to buy in to the hype that the Chargers will win the division. The big question will be how many empty seats there will be in the 27,000 seat soccer stadium the Chargers now call home.
Dolphins 24, Chargers 21

 

Sunday Sept 17, 4:05 pm ET on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
New York Jets at Oakland Raiders
Broadcast in eastern NY, eastern PA, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Chicago, KC, Minnesota, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, northern California and southern Oregon.
Raiders -13½; 43½

Let’s see, on one hand we have one of the best offenses in the league. On the other side there is the dumpster fire known as the Jets, attempting to tank their way to the number one pick of the 2018 draft.
Raiders 34, Jets 13

 

Sunday Sept 17, 4:25 pm ET on Fox; Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman
Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Rams
Broadcast in southern California, Virginia, Maryland and DC.
Rams -2½; o/u 45½

Similar to Jacksonville, I want to see if the Ram defense can keep it going in week two – this time against a better offense. If this was still Jeff Fisher running the show then I’d be confident in a bounce back game for Kirk Cousins. With Wade Phillips as the defensive coordinator, perhaps I may need to start believing in this team.
Rams 20, Skins 17

 

Sunday Sept 17, 4:25 pm ET on Fox; Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos
Broadcast in most markets (see Wash-Rams and Niners-Seahawks).
Cowboys -2½; o/u 43

Denver’s defense is not quite as good as it was in recent seasons. The Dallas offensive line should control this game, and the Broncos don’t have an offense that can keep up with a decent team.
Cowboys 23, Broncos 16

 

Sunday Sept 17, 4:25 pm ET on Fox; Sam Rosen, David Diehl
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
Broadcast in northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska and Reno NV.
Seahawks -14; o/u 42

Seattle gets their aggression out after losing a game they should have won at Green Bay due to dumb penalties and questionable flags.
Seahawks 27, Niners 13

 

Sunday Sept 17, 8:30 pm ET on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collisworth
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
Broadcast in all markets.
Falcons -3; 56

This is not only the best game of the week, it could have been one of the best entire year had it been scheduled for later in the season. The Packers were fortunate to win last week against Seattle; they will be playing against a far superior offense on Sunday night.
Falcons 30, Packers 24

 

Monday Sept 18, 8:30 pm ET on espn; Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden
Detroit Lions at New York Giants
Broadcast in all markets.
Giants -3; o/u 42½

Tough call here, but I’ll take the Giants to rebound while Detroit – playing outside of their dome – is slowed down against a good NYG defense.
Giants 24, Lions 20

 

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publisher of this website. Neither the author nor this website promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only.

 

Patriots – Saints Key Matchups, Who Has the Razor’s Edge?

Steve Balestrieri
September 15, 2017 at 6:30 am ET

The New England Patriots find themselves in unfamiliar territory after the first week of the season at the wrong end of a 0-1 record. To even things up, they have to travel to the New Orleans Mercedes Benz Superdome where the Saints are always tough to beat. The Saints are also 0-1 and like New England didn’t play particularly well on Monday Night. Now with a short week, they return home to face a Patriots team that is looking to rebound in Week 2.

This week’s game will be broadcast by CBS on Sunday, September 17 at 1:00 p.m. ET and can be seen on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Jim Nance will handle play-by-play duties with Tony Romo as the color analyst. Tracy Wolfson will work from the sidelines. The game will also be on the Patriots flagship radio station 98.5 The SportsHub with Bob Socci and Scott Zolak on the call.

The Patriots (0-1) lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 42-27 giving up 21 unanswered points in the 4th quarter. The defense struggled and gave up the most points and yards ever allowed by a Bill Belichick coached Patriots team.

The Saints (0-1) lost to the Minnesota Vikings 29-19. The offensive line struggled to protect Drew Brees and the defense gave up big plays on third down and had communication issues in the secondary. Not exactly unheard of on Week 1 with a young defense.

We here at PatsFans.com are continuing our “Razor’s Edge” column in 2017 to give a quick break down on some of the key matchups of the game and what you can look for in how the game plays out.

Series History:

The Patriots and Saints have met thirteen times in their history dating back to 1972 with the Patriots holding a 9-4 advantage including 4-1 in New Orleans. The last meeting was in Foxboro in 2013 when Tom Brady hit Kenbrell Thompkins with a game winning touchdown with less than a few seconds left on the clock to pull it out 30-27.

Here is a look at some of the key matchups and who holds the Razor’s Edge.

First up is the Patriots offense:

Patriots RBs vs Saints Front Seven – Razor’s Edge New England

The Patriots running game is still looking to get untracked but did have a bit of success running the ball last week. Although stopped twice on 4th and 1 attempts, Mike Gillislee scored on three short yardage touchdown runs from 2,2, and 1 yard out.

The Saints did a pretty good job of stuffing the run last week against Minnesota holding Adrian Peterson and Co. in check. Cameron Jordan is their best pass rusher and a very good run defender.

Look for the Patriots to spread them out and run Rex Burkhead in between the tackles this week. I expect to see him get plenty of work in the passing game as well. Gillislee will be the designated goal line/short yardage back.

Patriots WRs vs Saints Secondary – Razor’s Edge New England

The Patriots passing game was very lackluster last week, Tom Brady completed only 16-36 for 267 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. The Patriots were trying to stretch the field last week going deep vertically much more than they’re accustomed to. They have to get back to stretching the field horizontally this week.

The Saints have a young and talented secondary but they’re not ready yet. They had multiple breakdowns and communication issues in Week 1. They also struggle to cover the tight ends which should be a big matchup nightmare for them this week.

I’m looking for Brady to get the tight ends involved early and often this week. Even with an injury depleted wide receiver corps, Brady still has plenty of weapons to go to. Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen should be primary targets early in this one. Look for Josh McDaniels to get the running backs more involved in the passing game this week. As long as the offensive line gives Brady time to throw, he should find plenty of space to work in this week.

Next up the New Orleans offense:

Saints RBs vs NE Front Seven – Razor’s Edge New Orleans

The Saints barely used Mark Ingram who rushed for over 1000 yards last year. And neither was Adrian Peterson who they signed this spring as they went with rookie Alvin Kamara who played well And after Peterson yelled at head coach Sean Payton late in the first half of his first game as a Saint, his time there may be short.

The Patriots played in a dime for most of the game last week with Jordan Richards as a linebacker and were gashed by the run. They allowed 185 yards and 6.9 yards per run. This week’s game should see them change that up quite a bit as that strategy plain didn’t work. Look for the Patriots to be much better against the run this week.

Saints WRs vs NE Secondary- Razor’s Edge New Orleans

Drew Brees struggled in the opener because of issues with his offensive line. But he has a very good wide receiver in Michael Thomas and a burner in Ted Ginn as well as TE Coby Fleener. If Brees gets time to throw, he can pick apart any defense.

The Patriots were gashed in the passing game as well, this secondary is much too talented for that. Look for the Patriots to go to the Big Nickel this week, with Pat Chung as the extra linebacker. Harvey Langi should see some action this week. The key will be the pass rush against a beat up New Orleans offensive line. Look for Trey Flowers to have a nice game this week putting pressure on Brees.

Special Teams- Razor’s Edge Push

The Patriots special teams lost their punt returner when Danny Amendola went down with a concussion. That’s three punt returners and counting that have been lost so far this season. The coverage units and kicking game were solid last week. The kickoff return team was stuck in neutral.

Bill Belichick raved this week about Thomas Morstead this week, (he loves his punters) and he’s one of the better ones in the league. Their kicking game with Wil Lutz had a solid week, but the Saints allowed five kicks to be blocked last year. Look for the Patriots to try to get one this week.  

Next up, who wins and why…

Prediction:

This one should be an entertaining one as two of the best quarterbacks in the league get together. Both have enormous respect for one another and both are ultra competitive who leave it all out on the field. The Patriots defense has some issues to work out or else Brees could have a huge day. Likewise, the Patriots offense, even with banged up WRs should have their way with this young defense.

This has the potential to be a shootout. But I like the Patriots to take control of this game with a much better effort defensively. It starts with the run defense and Alan Branch and Malcom Brown inside. Ditching the four-safety look this week should really help. Look for Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise to put some pressure on Brees against the younger tackles.

Offensively, if the Patriots don’t score between 30-35 points I’d be very surprised this week. A look at what Minnesota was able to do with a much less talented offense sets the bar this week. And it starts with Rob Gronkowski. Gronk had to hear the entire, “he can’t run anymore”, “he’s lost a step”, take your pick. He’s in line for a huge game this week. Brady will spread them out and find his mismatches. It may be newcomer Phillip Dorsett against nickel corner De’Vante Harris, who was picked on by the Vikings on Monday night. Look for the Patriots to rebound and play a much better game in New Orleans. Time for the fan base to come in off the ledge.

Patriots 34-24

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

New England Patriots 2017 Opponents, 5 First Impressions of the Saints

Steve Balestrieri
September 13, 2017 at 7:54 am ET

 

We are on Week 2 in the NFL and the schedule this weekend has the Patriots traveling down to New Orleans to take on the Saints. Neither team got off to the start that they wanted to kick off the season and both teams enter the week at 0-1.

The Patriots had a rare 4th quarter meltdown at home against the Chiefs and allowed 21 points in the fourth quarter to lose 42-27. The defense gave up big plays for touchdowns and the offense, despite scoring 27 points never got untracked.

The Saints went to Minnesota and dropped an ugly one as well 29-19. Drew Brees and the offense in five trips to the red zone could only manage four field goals and a touchdown. And the defense consistently gave up big plays on third down as Sam Bradford had his way with them.

Both teams will be looking to bounce back this week as teams that start the year 0-2 rarely have success in making the playoffs or reaching the Super Bowl. New Orleans, especially their offense, however, always play much better in the Super Dome.  Here are our five first impressions of the Saints before this week’s game.

Minnesota Picked on De’Vante Harris in the Opener: Week 1 is the classic overreaction week in the NFL. Just look around, the fans from 15 teams are already looking on StubHub for tickets to Super Bowl LII, while fans from 15 others are in panic mode. However, the Saints knew coming in this year that they are inexperienced at the cornerback position.

And the Vikings saw this and made it a point to pick on cornerback De’Vante Harris. The 2nd year UDFA from Texas A&M got the start and had a rough game. Minnesota QB Sam Bradford had a 100 passer rating when looking in his direction last week. Harris got caught peeking in the backfield at Bradford during a red-zone possession which allowed Stefon Diggs to get behind him for an 18-yard touchdown.

Diggs also beat him on a deep sideline pass in the second quarter that, despite pass interference by Harris was still able to pull it in. We know that the NFL is a copycat league, I’d expect Josh McDaniels to test the young corner early and often this week.

Young Linebackers Make A Good First Impression: The Saints have revamped their linebacking corps and the early results were encouraging. With A.J. Klein, Manti Te’o and rookie Alex Anzalone manning the Saints front seven at linebacker, they are looking for improved play this season.

Klein, who was brought over from the Carolina Panthers this spring had a very solid outing and was active making 11 tackles although he said there was plenty of room for improvement from the unit, especially on the first play of the game where the Saints had only 10 men on the field. “To know we started the season that way was just a lack of communication to start,” he said. “I think that can fall on me. I have to know who is on the field and personnel and make sure everyone is on the field. I take responsibility for that one.”

Anzalone had what coach Sean Payton called a pretty active night. The rookie from Florida had a pair of tackles and a pass defended. He broke up a pass in the end zone on the Vikings first drive that forced them to settle for a field goal.

Red Zone Offense Uncharacteristically Stalls: Last season the Saints were one of the best teams offensively in the red zone.  But on Monday night they struggled, albeit against one of the better defensive units in the NFL.

The Saints made five trips into the red zone, with four of them being inside the 10-yard line and of those four trips, they could only manage three field goals and a touchdown, that came in the final two minutes of the game when the score was basically out of reach.

Some of the play calling was curious as they didn’t target Michael Thomas in the red zone during the game. The 2nd year wide receiver caught 92 passes a year ago but on this night had just 5 catches for 45 yards.

Mark Ingram played very sparingly (only 26 snaps) and had just six carries for just 17 yards in the game. He was more effective in the passing game with five catches for 54 yards. The Saints were going mostly with rookie RB Alvin Kamara over Ingram and veteran addition Adrian Peterson.

But credit the Minnesota defense, although they sacked Drew Brees only once, they were able to bring pressure on him and he was constantly under duress.

Offensive Line Needs Work: The Saints brought in running backs Alvin Kamara and Adrian Peterson this season to bolster the already very good Mark Ingram in an attempt to make the offense more balanced and assert their will on opponents. It would also take some of the onus off of Drew Brees and the passing game. But the offensive line, which was supposed to open up the holes for the running game struggled in Week 1.

Injuries and playing the tough Minnesota defense certainly had a hand in that. Left tackle Terron Armistead was out of the lineup in Minnesota and right tackle Zach Strief left the game with an MCL sprain that may keep him out of the line up for the next few weeks. Those losses, coupled with the Vikes front seven made life difficult for the running backs to find any room to run. Kamara and Peterson managed just 18 yards a piece and Ingram gained just 17.

While the interior of the offensive line remains intact, one area that will bear close scrutiny this week will be the edges. If they can give Drew Brees time to throw and open up some holes for the talented running back trio, the Saints offense will be tough to stop. If not, then the Patriots defense will be looking to assert their own pressure.

Like the Loss of Edelman, the Saints Felt the Loss of Snead: Watching the Saints in the opener, one couldn’t help but notice that the New Orleans passing game was missing their slot receiver Willie Snead in this one. Much like the Patriots in their opener, the loss was even more keenly felt on third down.

While Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn give them production and speed on the outside and TE Coby Fleener is a good, productive pass receiver, having that go-to slot receiver in the middle of the field is always a plus and the Saints could have used Snead who is serving a three game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse rules.

It will be interesting to see if the Saints use Austin Carr this week against his former team. The Patriots signed the UDFA wide receiver this spring and he had a very solid training camp and preseason. He was cut as the team whittled down the 53-man roster and the Saints scooped him up.

Check back with us later this week as we’ll have a detailed breakdown of the key matchups between the Patriots and Saints as we try to piece together who wins and why.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Patriots Fourth And Two Podcast: Patriots vs. Saints Preview

Russ Goldman
September 12, 2017 at 11:48 am ET

In this episode, we previewed the upcoming game for the Patriots against the Saints. However, we started the show by looking back at the disappointing loss for the Patriots against the Chiefs.

NFL Week 2 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead’ Betting Lines: Pats 6.5 point favorites at Saints

John Morgan
September 8, 2017 at 8:30 pm ET

On Tuesday the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook published their NFL Regular Season Week 2 Advanced Betting Lines. Also known as Look-Ahead or Early Lines, these odds are released prior to any of the previous games – including Thursday night’s game between the Patriots and Chiefs. These Early Advanced Lines can and will differ substantially from odds posted by Vegas and offshore accounts by the time these games kick off next week. It will be interesting to see how the professional handicappers that set these lines react to the Pats loss to KC when the Week Two odds are initially set next week.

 

The Patriots at New Orleans looms to be the most analyzed game in the NFL heading into week two. It features two potent offenses led by a pair of future Hall of Fame quarterbacks, Drew Brees and Tom Brady. The Pats loss to the Chiefs will result in even more scrutiny, as New England strives to avoid an 0-2 start to the 2017 season. Last time these two met it was an incredible game. The Saints were up 27-23 with just over a minute to go, and the Patriots were out of timeouts. Brady led the Patriots on a 70-yard scoring drive, converting on 4th down and then connecting on a 17-yard touchdown pass to undrafted rookie Kenbrell Thompkins with only five seconds remaining.

 

 

The last time these two met in The Big Easy it was a different story. New Orleans dominated both sides of the ball on a Monday night game and crushed New England, 38-17. With that victory the Saints improved to 11-0; they would go on to defeat the Colts in Super Bowl 44 that post-season.

 

Another game well worth watching will be played on Sunday night, with Green Bay at Atlanta. This is a rematch of last season’s NFC championship game, featuring a marketing executive’s dream: Matt Ryan an Aaron Rodgers. The two clubs are among the favorites (along with Seattle) to represent the NFC in next February’s Super Bowl. Clear your calendar; this should be one of, if not the best game of the 2017 season.

Thursday Sept 14 at 8:25 pm ET on NFLN
Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals (-3)

Sunday Sept 17 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-7)
Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers (-8)
Tennessee Titans (-2½) at Jacksonville Jaguars
New England Patriots (-6½) at New Orleans Saints

Sunday Sept 17 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox
Arizona Cardinals (-3½) at Indianapolis Colts
Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs (-4)
Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)
Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6½)

Sunday Sept 17 at 4:05 pm ET on CBS
Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers (-4)
New York Jets at Oakland Raiders (-15½)

Sunday Sept 17 at 4:25 pm ET on Fox
Dallas Cowboys (-1½) at Denver Broncos
Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Rams (PK)
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-11½)

Sunday Sept 17 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons (-3)

Monday Sept 18 at 8:30 pm ET on espn
Detroit Lions at New York Giants (-6)

 

Early Week 2 Best Bets:
Bucs (-6½) vs Bears
Skins (pk) at Rams
Texans (+3) at Bengals
Seahawks (-11½) vs Niners

 

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publisher of this website. Neither the author nor this website promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only.

 

Follow on Twitter @AllThingsPats