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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week 2 NFL Predictions: Monday Night Football Edition

New Orleans Saints vs San Francisco 49ers: NO -4.5
This game has been a see-saw so far.   Heavy public action came in on the Saints and the sharps are going with the 49ers.   All the indicators are telling me I should take SF.  An underrated team bouncing back in a night game playing at home.  Emotions and motivations will be sky high.   I could grab them right now at +6 and in any other circumstance I would say this is a strong play.   However, the Super Bowl champs are coming to town.

Mike Singletary went on KPIX-TV and had this to say, "We will not try to stop Drew Brees. We will stop Drew Brees."  The good news for SF is their defense should be better in week 2.   Things fell apart for them in Seattle, but this group has been together for 4 years now and will play much better this season.  The bad news is the Saints offense will also be better than they were in week 1.   After factoring in home field advantage, Vegas have SF close to a full TD underdog.   Look for them to get back to what they do best, running the ball and playing solid defense.  The only problem is they will fall behind at some point in this game and be forced to throw.   That will take them out of their game plan and we all saw what happens when SF need to put the game in Alex Smith’s hands last week.   They also lost their center, which is a big problem.  Their RT is the youngest tackle in the NFL,  and they are starting a rookie at LG.  The blocking was not good in week one.  The chances are also high that they are playing from behind in this game.  This is not a formula for success if you are a Frank Gore fan.   I like Gore UNDER 77.5 rushing yards as a prop for Monday night. 

The NO defense is also better than some people think with Greg Williams calling the shots.   They have tremendous pressure packages and elaborate zone coverages.   Vilma, Ellis, Greer and Porter are difference makers.  The Saints can throw it all over the field or choose to pound the rock.  They forced MIN to earn their yards and took away the big play.  They will use a similar strategy against a SF team that will need to keep it close to have a chance.  Tedd Ginn was injured against SEA and will not suit up on Monday night.   They are already fighting an uphill battle and they will lose another weapon on special teams with his absence.  SF play much better at home than they do on the road, but they are relative newcomers to the bright lights of MNF.  After getting drubbed by their division foes, they will have extra pressure on them to pull out a result because the next two are on the road.  This is not how SF scripted the start of the season.  Prediction: Bank NO -4.5.
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