New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots NFL 9-25
The New Orleans Saints are trying to prove that their NFL week 2 game was a fluke, while the New England Patriots want to reiterate that their win last week is who they are when the two 1-1 teams meet up on Sunday. The Patriots are the standard -3 point favorites at home as even oddsmakers don’t know what to make of these two.
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Did Saints Just Catch the Packers on a Bad Day?
Fans were saying “Drew who” after Jameis Winston threw 5 TD passes vs. Green Bay in NFL week 1, and the Saints added another 171 yards on the ground. More importantly, the New Orleans defense stifled Aaron Rodgers to just 133 yards passing with an uncharacteristic 2 INT.
Unfortunately for New Orleans fans, it was back to reality last week as the Saints lost 26-7 to the Panthers as -3 point favorites. Winston looked like the QB we all were worried about with 111 yards and 2 INTs, and the Saints went from 171 yards rushing in week 1 to 48 last Sunday. For as much as they shut down Rodgers in the opener, Sam Darnold tossed for 305 and 2 TD last week vs. New Orleans.
The good news for the Saints is that the Panthers’ offense is probably better than the Patriots’ at this point in the season. The bad news is Bill Belichick can draw up a defense that will make Winston very prone to mistakes. Carolina also found out that Sean Payton can’t hurt you when his offense doesn’t have the ball, winning the time of possession battle 38:32 to 21:28.
Patriots Defense Hitting Their Stride
Belichick vs. Payton is going to be a good back and forth, and although the New England defense has looked good this season, Sunday marks their first real test. The Patriots allowed only 259 yards to the Dolphins in week 1 and still lost 17-16 and then bounced back by picking off Zach Wilson 4 times in beating the Jets 25-6 on Sunday.
Wilson looked out of his element vs. New England last week, which is expected from the #2 pick in the draft playing his second NFL game. Winston is in his 7th year in the league, but Sunday marks just his 3rd game as the Saints starter. This is also a QB that threw 30 INTs in 2019 as the starter for Tampa Bay.
The Patriots’ offense still has some questions of their own to answer. In week one, they lost at home despite holding the Dolphins to just 17 points and scored 25 points last week, but four drives ended in field goals. A lot of those points were also due to good field position, thanks to the Wilson turnovers. The Saints defense looked bad last week but was a top 5 unit in 2020.
Saints at Patriots Pick
It’s hard to gauge New England’s performance last week because it looks like the Jets are going to be very bad yet again this season. Even though Sean Payton is going to put Winston in the best position to limit mistakes (and possibly run the ball more), the x-factor is Belichick in this one, and the Saints’ inability to sustain drives will be their downfall.