Kickoff Sunday, Sep 26th 1:00pm Eastern

Saints (
20.25) at

Patriots (
23.25)

Over/Under 43.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Saints Run D
2nd DVOA/2nd Yards allowed per carry
Patriots Run O
23rd DVOA/27th Yards per carry
Saints Pass D
9th DVOA/23rd Yards allowed per pass
Patriots Pass O
23rd DVOA/19th Yards per pass
Patriots Run D
9th DVOA/17th Yards allowed per carry
Saints Run O
17th DVOA/9th Yards per carry
Patriots Pass D
16th DVOA/16th Yards allowed per pass
Saints Pass O
9th DVOA/31st Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By papy324 >>
  • This game started with a low total, and it has been bet down 
  • Alvin Kamara and Damien Harris need touchdowns to pay off their prices 
  • There isn’t much to like from either passing attack
  • New England’s defense is in play

How new england Will Try To Win ::

“See, boy, we both knew it wasn’t Tom all those years, didn’t we boy. Yes, we did. You always knew I could win on my own. Yes, you did.” Bill Belichick mumbles to his dog after a bottle of victory Scotch. *It was the Jets* Tom Brady’s voice whispers back. 

Maybe that isn’t the way Belichick decided to celebrate his Week 2 victory, but it must have been how he felt. Belichick and New England breathed a collective sigh of relief as they were able to dust the possibly (I’m predicting this a little early) 0-16 Jets. Their offense looks that bad. While getting a win that was never competitive relieves the pressure slightly, losing this week would leave New England with a 1-2 record that wouldn’t feel all that much better than 0-2. There is still a lot of pressure on New England and Bill Belichick to win this game. 

A key question about how the Patriots want to attack this year is how much trust Belichick has in Mac Jones. Week 2 offered a clue, as the Patriots threw the ball 30 times compared to 24 team carries. A 56% pass rate is still considered balanced in today’s NFL, but the Patriots were winning comfortably all game and slammed the ball in the 4th quarter. They skewed pass-heavy initially, which showed Belichick trusted Mac Jones enough to attack the relative weakness of a defense rather than trying to hide his rookie QB. 

In comes the Jekyll and Hyde Saints that blasted a Packers team expected to contend before falling flat against a probably underrated Panthers squad. The Saints are a creative defense that plays many different looks to try and confuse the offense. Last year, the best feature of their defense was their 5-0 and 6-0 fronts that they commonly employed on third downs. Those fronts led to the second-best third down pressure rate in the league. This year’s unit isn’t quite as strong as last year, but it still boasts above-average players at every level (depending on how you feel about Marshon Lattimore). 

That all is to say that the Saints don’t present a clear “path of least resistance” for the Patriots to attack. In the absence of an evident defensive weakness, I expect the Patriots to default to their strength, pounding the rock behind an elite O-line. In ideal circumstances, Harris looks to be in line for another 20-touch day, but the Pats have shown trust in Mac Jones, making Harris game script dependent. If good Jameis Winston shows up early, the Pats won’t be afraid to abandon the run.

How new orleans Will Try To Win ::

In a way, both Sean Payton and Bill Belichick are currently experiencing the same reality. A reality that most other NFL coaches have had to face over the past decade. A reality that it’s a lot harder to win football games when you don’t employ a top-five QB of all time. Sean Payton is an excellent coach, and if the Saints remain a playoff team one year after losing a hall of fame QB, that would be quite the feat. 

Payton is smart enough to know that Winston is just as likely to throw five picks as he is to throw five touchdowns, and sometimes he’ll do both! I had to check the box score twice to be sure, but the Saints ran a pitiful 39 plays in Week 2. Ouch. There is a chance that’s the lowest play count for a team all year. Is the Panthers defense suffocating, and we haven’t figured it out yet? Or did they play Zach “frightened child” Wilson and Winston on a bad day? The latter is more likely, and last week’s performance was a peek at how this offense might look when Winston isn’t feeling the flow. 

On the road, Winston is capable of being confused against a defensive head coach that is known for confusing QBs. One or two interceptions are likely in this one. Expect Payton to try and limit his QB’s ability to make mistakes for as long as he can while hoping his defense can force Mac Jones to the air and create turnovers. Early in the game, expect Alvin Kamara to be the focal point and to remain the focal point unless game flow dictates otherwise. Sean Payton will be happy to win this game with his star RB and defense. 

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

This game opened with a small total of 42.5 and has since been bet down 41.5. No one expects much scoring in a game that is likely to have a slow pace between two above-average defenses. The game is predicted to be close, with the Patriots as three-point home favorites, essentially saying this is an even game on a neutral field. Expect the Patriots to come out pounding Harris as they probe for weaknesses in the run game and hope that their elite offensive line can pave the way to an easy win. If slamming Harris fails, don’t expect Belichick to try and “hide” Mac Jones. The Patriots have an adaptable coaching staff and appear willing to let Jones try and win them games when appropriate. The most likely outcome is a close battle that turns in favor of the victor in the 4th quarter. 

DFS+ Interpretation ::

By LexMiraglia10 >>

Overview:

  • NOR is expected to get all their missing coaches & some key starters back that were missing in Week 2
  • Payton-Belichick history: NOR blowout win // NE last-second win // NE blowout win
  • Of course, Jameis Winston vs Mac Jones is a bit different than Brees vs Brady

Jameis Winston:

  • Winston was under pressure all day, with reports of massive communication gaps between himself and the offensive line (starting C Erik McCoy’s absence was clear hit to protection calls, as it’s become the Center’s job now after departure of Brees)
  • Winston, one of the only 5K yd passers in NFL history, has 259 pass yds through two games (only 42 total pass att thus far)
  • NE, without Gilmore, has held Tua & Zach Wilson to 202 & 210 pass yds to start 2021
  • NE has 5 INT after facing those QBs; Winston threw two INTs vs CAR
  • Winston threw for 334 yds, TD in a 14-19 loss to 2017 NE in his only game vs Belichick
  • NE has so far allowed the 2nd fewest completed air yds and 4th fewest YAC

NOR WRs:

  • NOR WR targets: Callaway (6) // Harris (4) // Hogan (4) // TyMont (2) // Humphrey (2)
  • NOR has only had one non-Thomas/Sanders WR catch 7+ passes in a game in each of the last 3 seasons: Tre’Quan (10) // Ginn (7) // Callaway (8)
  • WRs vs NE so far: Parker (4:81), Waddle (4:61:1) // Davis (2:8), Moore (4:47), Berrios (7:73)

Alvin Kamara:

  • Gaskin, Ty Johnson, & Carter all received at least 9 rush att vs NE in the first two weeks, racking up a combined 158 yds on 32 att
  • NE currently ranks 23rd in defensive rush DVOA through two weeks; ranked dead last in 2020
  • Kamara went from the 2nd most rush att in his career (20) in W1, to tied with his 2nd lowest rush att total from 2020 (8) in W2
  • Kamara’s 10 targets currently lead the team, but he’s only produced 7 rec for 33 yds, TD with them
  • Opposing RBs vs NE have so far produced 80 yds on 9 rec (11 tg)
  • AK’s DK pts without Thomas: 38.4 // 47.7 // 20.9 // 19.9 // 22.8 // 25.3 // 18.4 // 59.2 // 18.1 // 7.0
  • The only three have to have it scores there came with touch totals of 22 (9 tg) // 20 (14 tg) // 27 (6 TDs)

Mac Jones:

  • The only QBs with a lower avg intended air yds through two weeks are Dalton, Ryan, Jimmy G, & Brissett
  • NOR allowed the 5th fewest QB DK pts in 2020, including zero 300yd passers
  • After shutting down the GB offense in W1, Darnold found success vs an injury-depleted NOR defense
  • Two of NOR’s top defensive backs (Lattimore, Gardner-Johnson) are expected back
  • Mac Jones has scored just 15.24 & 7.4 DK pts to start the year
  • NE has the lowest total of any favorite this week

NE WRs:

  • NE WR targets: Meyers (9, 6) // Agholor (7, 3) // Bourne (3, 3)
  • NOR held GB WRs in check, but DJ Moore picked on rookie Paulson Adebo, playing CB1 in Lattimore’s absence, for 8 rec 79 yds, TD
  • None of NE’s WRs are on Moore’s level, NOR is expected to get Lattimore back, historically solid CB Bradley Robey will be playing his second game for NOR, and so far Mac Jones has shown a major hesitancy to attack downfield

NE TEs:

  • Targets: Jonnu Smith (5, 5) // Hunter Henry (3, 4)
  • DK pts: Jonnu (9.2, 6.8) // Henry (6.1, 6.2)
  • TEs vs NOR so far: Tonyan (2:8) // Arnold (3:55)
  • NOR allowed the 2nd lowest success rate to TEs in 2020

NE RBs:

  • NE RB touches: Harris (23 att, 3 tg / 16 att, 1 tg) // White (4 att, 7 tg / 5 att, 6 tg)
  • Harris has 4 att inside the 10 and White has 1 att
  • RBs to score 20+ DK pts vs NOR since 2018: Saquon (22) // Latavius (20.5) // Zeke (25.6) // CMC (34.3, 22.8, 26, 24.7) // Mostert (24.9) // Dalvin (28.0) // Sanders (32.6) // Fournette (21.7)
  • That’s 11 RB scores of 20+ DK pts allowed in the last 55 games
  • 11/11 scored a TD /// 4/11 scored 2 TDs /// 8/11 had 5+ rec /// 11/11 had 6+ DK rec pts
  • Of the three without 5 rec, one had 82 yd TD, one caught a WR pass TD, one had 28 rush att, and all three scored 2 TDs