The New Orleans Saints head on the road to battle the New England Patriots in an AFC battle on Sunday afternoon from Gillette Stadium. The Saints were clobbered by the Panthers in their first loss of the season last week. The Patriots are 1-1 through two clashes after topping the Jets in their latest action. These foes last met in 2017 in a game the Patriots took by a 36-20 score.
Line Movements & Weather
The Patriots have gone from -1 to -2.5 or 3, depending on your favorite sportsbook, with New England grabbing 60% of the bets.
The OU line has gone from 43 down to 42.5 and now back up to 43 at most shops, with the Over snatching up 52% of the bets.
Gametime Weather: Temperatures in the lower 70s with sunny skies and winds in the lower teens.
Saints Fall to Panthers After Week One Victory
The New Orleans Saints have been involved in two blowout decisions. First, they walloped the Packers by a 38-3 score in the season opener. Next, they were tagged with an ugly 26-7 road loss to the Panthers last week in a tilt that had the Saints favored by three points.
Jameis Winston was brilliant against Green Bay in week one, tossing five touchdown passes. The 27-year old QB struggled last week, recording only 110 passing yards along with two picks. Winston was the Saints’ backup last season. He has only tallied 259 passing yards in two games.
Alvin Kamara also had big trouble last week, rushing for only five yards on eight carries after 83 yards in the season opener. The 26-year old RB is usually a big threat after collecting 932 rushing yards and 756 receiving yards in 2020. The Saints continue to play without top WR Michael Thomas. Deonte Harris leads the team with 81 receiving yards. The Saints' offense isn't going to be nearly as productive as last season.
The New Orleans defense shut down Aaron Rodgers in the season opener but could not contain Sam Darnold last week, surrendering 294 passing yards along with 89 yards on the ground. This is a solid defense. They rank 13th against the pass and third against the run in two games. The Saints have scored 45 points in two games, ranking them 19th in the NFL. They have allowed a total of 29 points, landing them sixth overall.
Out - WR Michael Thomas, LB Chase Hansen, DE Marcus Davenport, LB Kwon Alexander, C Erik McCoy, DB Ken Crawley, and WR Tre'quan Smith
Questionable - DE Payton Turner, OL Calvin Throckmorton, and QB Trevor Siemian
Pats Rebound with First Victory of Season
The New England Patriots have found the win column. They lost a tough 17-16 decision to the Dolphins in the opener and countered with a dominating 25-6 road win against the Jets to cover the 5.5 spread. There is a lot to like in the Pats 1-1 start, especially the defensive performance.
Mac Jones has looked good in his first taste of the NFL. The first-round pick has connected on 74% of his pass attempts for a total of 467 yards and one TD. Jones was able to collect 281 yards against a good Miami pass defense in the opener. The Pats have opted for the pass more than the run so far. Damien Harris has fared well, rushing for 162 yards in two games and he should receive about 20 carries again this week. Nelson Agholor has fared well in his first two games with his new team, registering 93 yards, leading all receivers. The Pats don’t have a star receiver but have plenty of depth.
The New England defense is the real strength of Bill Belichick’s squad. They have already made a whopping five interceptions including four against Jets rookie QB Zach Wilson. The Pats rush defense was an issue last season and they gave up 152 yards on the ground against the Jets. They stand sixth against the pass and 14th against the run through two bouts. New England has scored 41 points in two clashes, placing them 23rd in the NFL. They have limited their foes to only 23 points, good for third.
Out - K Quinn Nordin, LB Cameron McGrone, and RB Malcolm Perry
Questionable - DB Adrian Phillips, LB Josh Uche, OL Trent Brown, and LB Ronnie Perkins
The New Orleans Saints are:
- No Key Trends
The New England Patriots are:
- 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 games following a straight-up win of more than 20 points.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Patriots' defense has been dominant through the early stages of the season. They have limited their foes in the Dolphins and Jets to only 17 and 6 points respectively. The Saints are not the team of past seasons. Jameis Winston is throwing a ton of interceptions plus they are playing without top WR in Michael Thomas. Winston barely managed over 100 passing yards last week and is going to have trouble against a New England pass defense that is tabbed fifth in the NFL.
Furthermore, the Patriots' offense isn’t going to dazzle, however, they feature a tremendous offensive line accompanied by a strong RB in Damien Harris who has accrued 162 yards. The Saints allowed Sam Darnold of the Jets to collect over 300 yards last week, giving me confidence Mac Jones can produce after sporting a terrific 74% completion efficiency in his first two games.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Patriots are going to be involved in many low-scoring games this season. The pass defense is among the best while the rush defense is average. However, Saints RB Alvin Kamara hasn’t fared well, recording only 88 rushing yards in two games. The Saints have only tallied a total of 103 plays on offense in two games which is the lowest total in the NFL this season. The under is also 5-1 in the Saints’ last six road games.
In addition, Bill Belichick's offense is efficient but doesn’t have a ton of big-time playmakers. The Pats have only opted for the pass in 57% of the total plays, placing them 20th. While Mac Jones has been solid, he has attempted plenty of shorter-range passes. Also, consider the under is 9-1 in the Pats’ last 10 games overall.
Full-Game Prop Bet
The over on the Pats team total is worth a look. The Patriots' offensive line will create gaps for the running backs. They have eclipsed 100 rushing yards in both games. Mac Jones was able to accumulate 281 yards in week one and as mentioned, the rookie has been very accurate, connecting on 74 and 73% of his pass attempts in his first two NFL games.
Half-Time Prop Prediction
I expect points to be at a premium throughout the entirety of this game. The Saints were shut out in the first quarter last week while only conceding seven points. The offense will especially struggle early in a tough road atmosphere at Gillette Stadium. Also, the Pats have only conceded seven points in the opening quarter in two games.