Free NFL Picks: Saints at Patriots Odds and Week 6 Picks
by Alan Matthews - 10/9/2013
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning is the best individual NFL rivalry of this era, but just think what might have been if San Diego had decided to keep Drew Brees over Philip Rivers after the 2005 season. It looked like the right decision at the time as Brees was coming off a serious injury and Rivers was younger and showed much promise. But how great would it have been for Brees and Brady to face off perhaps once a season like Manning did (and Brees vs. Manning)?
There's little doubt that Sunday's Saints-Patriots game is the top matchup of Week 6 as it's the only one featuring two teams with at least four wins. New Orleans is all but a lock to win the NFC South and is a massive -1500 Bovada favorite there. New England has a game lead over Miami and the New York Jets in the AFC East, with the Pats as -400 favorites there. This could certainly be a Super Bowl preview as well. With all due respect to Seattle, New Orleans looks like the class of the NFC so far. The Patriots don't look like one of the best three teams in the AFC yet, but there's a ways to go.
This will be the first time since 2009 that Brady and Brees have played one another. And in another bonus, we get to see the two best tight ends in football. Jimmy Graham is on a historic pace for the Saints this season, while Rob Gronkowski is expected to make his season debut on Sunday and attempt to wrestle the title of the NFL's best tight end away from Graham, the former University of Miami basketball player.
Saints at Patriots Betting Story Lines
Brees saw his streak of eight straight games with at least 300 yards passing end last week in a 26-18 win at Chicago -- that's one shy of his NFL record. Brees had one of the most efficient days of his career, completing 29-of-35 passes (82.9 percent) for 288 yards and two scores. He hasn't thrown an interception in the past two games. Graham is simply a monster right now. He was the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for September, the first tight end to ever win the award in either conference. Graham had 10 catches for 135 yards against the Bears, although he didn't have a TD for the first time this season. He will set an NFL record -- held by him and Tony Gonzalez --for his position with a fifth straight 100-yard game this week. Graham leads the NFL with 593 yards receiving and is tied for second with 37 catches and six touchdowns. With Atlanta's Julio Jones likely out for the year, Graham's chances of winning the yardage and receptions categories (Jones is No. 1 in catches and No. 2 in yards) just got better.
Brady also saw a streak come to an end in last Sunday's 13-6 loss to Cincinnati, the Pats' lowest-scoring game in seven years. He had thrown a touchdown pass in 52 straight games, two shy of Brees' record. Brady had one of the worst games of his career, completing just 18-of-38 for 197 yards and a pick, good for a rating of only 52.2. The return of Gronkowski should solve some of Brady's problems. Gronk has multiple surgeries this offseason but should make his debut. With Wes Welker gone, Gronk will be option No. 1, especially in the red zone. Gronk caught 38 TD passes in his first three years despite missing five games in 2012. The Pats have only seven TDs so far -- they matched that total in a few single games last year.
I remember well when Brady and Brees last saw each other: Monday night, Nov. 30, 2009, at the Superdome. The Saints entered 10-0 and stomped New England 38-17 behind 371 yards and five TD passes from Brees. His average of 16.1 yards per passing attempt was a team record. The Saints looked like they might go unbeaten that year but finished 13-3 on the way to winning their only Super Bowl. Brady didn't have a TD pass and threw two picks. Graham was still at Miami then and Gronkowski at Arizona.
Saints at Patriots NFL Week 6 Betting Odds and Trends
At WagerWeb, the Patriots are 2.5-point favorites with a total of 49.5. New Orleans is 4-1 ATS (1-1 on road) and 1-4 “over/under” (0-2 away). New England is 2-3 ATS (1-1 at home) and 1-4 over/under (0-2 at home). The Saints are 6-1 ATS in their past seven in Week 6. They have covered 15 of their past 20 after a win. The Pats are 5-2 TAS in their past seven after an ATS loss. They are 1-3-1 ATS in their past five in Week 6. The over is 9-2 in New Orleans' past 11 against teams with a winning record. The over is 11-5 in the Saints' past 16 after a win. The under is 4-0 in New England's past four after an ATS loss. The over is 6-2 in New England's past eight against teams with a winning record.
Free NFL Picks: Saints at Patriots Betting Predictions
You won't see Brady have consecutive stinkers very often. He wasn't good in Week 2 against the Jets and followed with back-to-back strong games against Tampa Bay and Atlanta. For the first time he will have his projected top two targets, Danny Amendola and Gronkowski, available. Amendola played last week for the first time since Week 1. In addition, running back Stevan Ridley should return after missing last week.
New Orleans still can't run the ball much, and that very improved defense will see the best offense it has so far. Pats should win by at least a field goal -- unless Ridley and Gronk somehow don't play. Take the over. 35-27 final.
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