Neither the New Orleans Saints nor the New England Patriots have done much of anything to suggest that they won’t be in the second round of the NFL playoffs this season. A heavyweight fight looms in Foxborough, Mass., with the unbeaten Saints – the only remaining team without a loss in the NFC – taking on the Patriots, a team that is still in very good position to get a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs. This is the NFL betting game in week six that everyone in the pro football community wants to see more than any other.
New Orleans Saints @ New England Patriots
Sunday, October 13th – 4:25 PM ET
Gillette Stadium – Foxborough, MA
NFL Odds: New England -2.5
Why The Saints Can Cover The Spread:
They are playing great defense right now, and are therefore in good position to contain New England’s offense. New Orleans was a disaster on defense last season for so many different reasons: suspensions, injuries, the lack of a whole coaching staff, and organizational chaos. Now, though, the Saints have all their personnel back and have found the stability that proved elusive throughout the 2012 season. The Saints pushed around the Chicago Bears’ offensive line last weekend, taking the fight to the Bears for 60 minutes. New Orleans controlled the flow of play and never allowed Chicago to feel remotely comfortable, especially on offense. The Saints are not an imbalanced team anymore. They can win games on defense just as much as they can win on offense. They can win with power just as much as with finesse. They have shored up their weaknesses to the extent that they are strengths or, at the very least, value-neutral elements.
One should then realize that New England’s offense is not yet whole. The Patriots’ two best pass catchers, Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola, are returning from injuries, but will they be effective enough right now? That’s a tough question to answer. New England’s offense should certainly round into form if Gronkowski and Amendola remain healthy for the rest of the season, but at this point, it’s reasonable to conclude that rust and time off will prevent the Patriots’ offense from functioning smoothly in week six. That might be all New Orleans needs to win on the road.
Why The Patriots Can Cover The Spread:
Their ability to play with spare parts and still succeed is second to none in the NFL. The Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick simply handle adversity better than any other organization in football. Belichick plugs players into the right positions and gets them prepared to play – tactically, mentally and physically. The Patriots have used so many no-name players in recent years yet haven’t missed a beat. They are regularly one of the final eight teams left in the playoffs, having made the AFC Championship Game in each of the last two seasons. Playing at home and coming off a bad loss in which they scored only six points, the Patriots should be able to make the chalkboard adjustments that will enable them to outflank the Saints’ defense. Trust Bill Belichick to get things right in the wake of a subpar performance.
The Saints are playing a better brand of ball right now, but the Patriots are so good at rising to a challenge. This feels like a game Tom Brady will snatch away from Drew Brees in the fourth quarter. Lay the points with the Patriots on the NFL spread.
Pick: New England -2.5