The New Orleans Saints have won seven games in a row heading into a home date with the Washington Redskins at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday afternoon. New Orleans started the season 0-2 but is now 7-2 and atop the NFC South following a blowout of Buffalo last week. The Redskins have dropped three of their last four contests after most recently falling to Minnesota.
Inconsistency and injuries
The Redskins’ biggest winning streak this season is two, and that came back in Week 2 and Week 3. They have not won two games in a row since, and they are 1-3 in their last four contests. Part of the reason for such inconsistency is a number of injuries. Washington will be without running back Rob Kelley (sprained MCL) and inside linebacker Will Compton (Lisfranc sprain in his foot). Rookie Samaje Perine and third-down back Chris Thompson are expected to split the carries in Kelley’s absence. On the bright side, the entire starting offensive line has returned from various physical problems. That is why defensive back Josh Norman, among others, finds the inconsistency so inexplicable.
”Those games come out of nowhere and just swipe you in the face,” Norman lamented following a 38-30 home loss to Minnesota. ”You’ve got to come out here and be consistent. That’s the pedigree of a championship football team and we didn’t show that.”
”Each week we’re playing very good football teams,” head coach Jay Gruden noted. ”(I’m) not saying we’re not consistently playing well. I just think we’ve run into some really good offenses with guys making plays on the other side, and were not matching play for play with the other team.”
A tough test seemed to await the Saints in Week 10, when they went on the road to face Buffalo. Instead, they just kept on rolling. Drew Brees and company continued to dominate offensively en route to a 47-10 blowout of the Bills. In that one, though, Brees did not even have to do too much. The veteran quarterback completed an efficient 18 of 25 passes for just 184 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. It was the running game that churned out yard after yard–298 yards to be exact. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara both went over the 100-yard mark and Ingram scored a career-high three touchdowns to go along with his 131 yards. Kamara turned 12 carries into 106 yards. On the defensive side of the ball, New Orleans limited the Bills to an anemic 198 yards of total offense.
“When you look at our productivity in the running game, certainly the way the defense is playing and just how complementary we’ve been, I think a lot of things came together today,” Brees explained. “We executed very well today.… All in all, I’d say it was a pretty good day.”
The Washington Redskins are:
- 1-5 ATS in their last six overall
- 1-4 ATS in their last five games against the NFC
- 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game
The New Orleans Saints are:
- 20-7 ATS in their last 27 overall
- 4-1 ATS in their last five home games
- 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games against teams with losing records
For the Redskins, receiver Ryan Grant is in the NFL’s concussion protocol, safety DeAngelo Hall has a bone bruise in his right knee, and defensive lineman Anthony Lanier has a sprained knee. Gruden said tight end Jordan Reed is day-to-day after missing the past two games with a hamstring injury. Washington is 1-5 ATS in its last six overall, 1-4 ATS in its last five against the NFC, and 4-9 ATS in its last 13 after allowing more than 30 points in its previous outing. The Saints are 20-7 ATS in their last 27 overall, 4-1 ATS in their last five at home, 9-1 ATS in their last 10 against losing opponents, 5-1 ATS in their last six at home against opponents with losing road records, 20-7-1 ATS in their last 28 against the NFC, and 12-2 ATS in their last 14 following a win. Expect those trends to continue.
Pick: New Orleans Saints -7.5
When the Saints put up 47 points with Brees not even throwing a single touchdown pass, you know they are looking dangerous. New Orleans is No. 2 in the NFL in total offense, one of just two teams (along with New England) to average more than 400 yards per game. Head coach Sean Payton’s squad is third in scoring offense, trailing only the Rams and Eagles. The over is 23-7 in the Redskins’ last 30 overall, 13-3 in their last 16 on the road, 21-7 in their last 28 against the NFC, 13-3 in their last 16 following a loss, and 5-1 in their last six after allowing more than 30 points in their previous outing. It is also 12-5-1 in the Saints’ last 18 ath home, 11-3 in their last 14 against losing opponents, and 5-0 in their last five after gaining more than 350 yards of total offense in their previous outing. Additionally, the over is 4-0 in the last four meetings between the two teams.