New England Patriots vs. New Orleans Saints
Date and Time: Sunday, September 17, 2017, 1 p.m. ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Week 2 Opening NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Patriots -6.5, O/U 54.5
Patriots vs. Saints TV Coverage: CBS
The Patriots season opener against the Chiefs got off to a fantastic start after Mike Gillislee scored his first touchdown as a member of the team less than three minutes into the game. Kansas City tied the game up later in the first quarter, but then New England rattled off the game’s next 10 points to take what was thought to be a commanding 17-7 lead. It likely would have been an even bigger lead had Gillislee not been stopped twice on a pair of fourth and short misfires.
Driving for more late in the second quarter, the Chiefs forced a turnover and then proceeded to go right down the field and claw to within 17-14 on Kareem Hunt’s first career touchdown reception. Little did the fans that packed Gillette Stadium know, but an even bigger evening was in store for the rookie. He turned into a one-man wrecking crew in the second half gouging the Pats’ defense both on the ground and through the air. When it was said and done, he became the third player ever to accrue 150 scrimmage yards and three scores in his debut since Marshal Faulk pulled off the feat in 1994. Bottom line, Matt Patricia’s defense got embarrassed and it now must deal with a Saints attack that’s always been better in the comforts of its own dome.
There was some talk in the offseason that the Saints just might be able to march a better than average defense onto the gridiron. That would be a welcome sight for Who Dat fans who’ve struggled through the Rob Ryan regime ever since winning it all back in 2009-10. A matchup with a Minnesota Vikings offense that struggled mightily a season ago looked to be a perfect opponent to break the new-look defense in against. Yeah, not so much.
It was ugly right from the get go even though N’awlens forced Minnesota to settle for a field goal on their opening drive. Soon after, it became very much so apparent that the stop unit has plenty of work to do. It made Sam Bradford look all-world as he went on to complete 27 of 32 passes for a whopping 346 yards and three touchdowns. Both of his main wide receivers, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, were the main beneficiaries. On top of that, the defense allowed rookie Dalvin Cook to burst onto the scene with 127 rushing yards on 22 carries. A matchup with the Brady bunch doesn’t figure to go smoothly either.
Matchup to Watch
Kansas City flat out destroyed New England with its speed at wide receiver and running back. Tyreke Hill torched them for a big gainer that led to a score through the air, while Kareem Hunt gouged them both as a pass catcher and a rock handler. As penetrable the Pats defense looked, you can’t help but think their opponents will look to do the same thing moving forward. New Orleans has the weapons in Mark Ingram, Alvin Kamara, and Ted Ginn Jr. to pick New England apart both on short dump-offs and deep shots. You know full well that if Drew Brees is able to routinely complete those types of passes, no Patriots lead will be safe.
Patriots vs. Saints Picks
A year ago now, everybody was lined up to fade the Pats with Brady suspended through the first four games. All the Hoodie did was go out and win three of four games both straight up and against the spread. While I’m no doubt pumping the brakes on all the “New England is done” hype, I can’t say I’m comfortable laying a touchdown on the road with the team until all its integral pieces are healthy and back in place. Gronk hardly looked like himself last week, and the knee injury suffered by Dont’a Hightower in the second half really opened things up for the Chiefs. It’s still unknown as to whether he’ll suit up for this one, but even if he does, he won’t be a full strength.
Shop around for odds at a few sportsbooks and take as many points as you can get. I’d look to live bet the Saints as well if New England gets ahead of the number. The Saints have always been at their best at home where they’re 3-1 straight up and a perfect 4-0 against the spread the last four times they went off the board dogged.
Patriots vs. Saints Week 2 ATS Pick: Saints +7 at BookMaker.eu
Patriots vs. Saints Score Prediction: Patriots 31 – Saints 30