New Orleans were one of the hotter picks going into this season but disappointing defensive play looks like it could cost them when it matters.
The Saints would probably be defending a second Super Bowl title if not for a missed tackle that will live in infamy down Louisiana way in the NFC Divisional round last season.
They had the Vikings beaten, but Marcus Williams ducked and the Saints were f… well, you get the picture.
It looks like their defence is still recovering from the shock.
They’ve given up 48 and 37 point to divisional rivals – winning both games mind – though whether than can keep up that pace will define their season.
They need their defence to step up like it did last year to be competitive.
And they’ll need that tonight too, as the Redskins are a tricky team to tackle, especially coming off their bye-week.
New Orleans should know that from last season, when it took a miraculous fourth quarter comeback in the Superdome for the home team to squeak past Washington.
The ‘Skins have seen some significant turnover – especially at quarterback, with Alex Smith replacing Kirk Cousins – but they’re healthier this season than last and showed the undercooked Packers they can compete.
Their defence is also ranked among the best in the league statistically this season. They’re sure to be tested by Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, Mike Thomas, and the returning Mark Ingram, but there is some doubt around the receiving options for the record-breaking quarterback outside of his top-level star support.
New Orleans should score – and win – but this is a tough test and could become more if Washington play to their potential.
Handicap: Washington +6 – 20/23
The Redskins aren’t a sexy team – Dan Snyder makes sure to screw up anything good they have going for them – but they are tough and Jay Gruden generally keeps them competitive. If their O-line had been healthier last season they could’ve caused a stir, and in Chris Thompson they have one of the most exciting players to watch in the league bursting out of their backfield.
Adrian Peterson is also proving a useful addition. Their passing game hasn’t set the world alight, but it may not have to against the Saints unpredictable secondary. Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis are two big powerful targets to work with anyway.
Looking at the handicap, I think the Washington +6 line appeals because of how close they played the Saints last season here, especially with New Orleans’ defence yet to inspire confidence, and the DC team have had two weeks to scheme for his matchup.
Total Points: Over 51 – 20/23
On the total points market, over 51 appeals because the Saints score and concede in almost equally heavy measures.
Any Time Touchdown Scorer: Chris Thompson –11/10
Put simply, I’ve loved watching Thompson when I’ve seen him this season, he just looks like a ball of energy waiting to break off huge plays. The Packers managed to close him down with some extra attention in Week 3, and New Orleans are sure to attempt the same, but he should be too good for them. I’d look at him in the First Touchdown and 2+ Touchdown markets too. He’s 9/1 in both.