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Friday, November 1, 2013

NFL Predictions 2013 Week 9: Saints vs Jets

New Orleans Saints vs New York Jets: NO -6 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

The NFL can be very different from week to week, but no other team altered public perception as much as the Jets last week. Before Week 8, the look-ahead line on this game was Saints -3.5.  After the weekend, sportsbooks only adjusted it by half a point and opened at -4.

Well that didn't last long because money poured in on the Saints and now the line sits at -6.  I expected this line to move, but I'm a little confused why it hasn't moved more. I suspect that will change as kickoff approaches, but anything less than a TD looks like a bargain.

What to look for

Normally, I start off Saints previews with the big three that Brees relies on the most - Coltson, Graham, and Sproles. Yet, Colston is banged up and a question mark to play. Graham only saw a few snaps and 3 targets last week as he works his way back from a foot injury.

So why am I so confident the Saints can win this game by a touchdown or more?

Simply put, the Jets secondary is atrocious. ProFootballFocus has Milliner ranked near the very bottom of the league among cornerbacks. Who is right beside him?  Cromartie. Even if Colston can't go, they still have guys like Moore and Stills. Meachum and Toon might also show up on the scoresheet too.

But the Jets will primarily focus on Jimmy Graham. I'm not sure if they'll use a cornerback like Cromartie on Graham, or choose to use a safety like they did against Gronkowski, but either way Graham is the guy to watch. Last week he scored on two of the three balls sent his way, and he caught the third for good measure.

If New York are going to cover this game, they'll need their front seven to dominate up front. The Saints still have trouble with run blocking and they gave up 4 sacks last week, and also had 3 holding calls.

On the flip side we have Geno Smith. Who knows how he will play this week because there isn't a more inconsistent offense in the NFL.  On first down throws, Smith had more interceptions than first downs last week. That's flat out ridiculous.

Holmes is still out with an injury and they have scrubs lining up at tight end. David Wilson and Jeremy Kerley are not the answers on the outside.

I didn't think I'd say this before the season, but New Orleans might win this game on the backs of their defense alone. Junior Galette has been a big surprise and Cameron Jordan continues to wreak havoc on the line. The other name that stands out here is Kenny Vaccaro. He's being used in all areas of the field against both the run and the pass. He only has 1 missed tackle in 445 snaps this year. That's impressive.

Bottom Line

I waited on this pick all week to see the final injury updates, but as long as Graham is suiting up for the Saints, I'm good to go.

The only thing that I am concerned about is the "spot" these teams are in. I've already been burned by New Orleans on the road this year twice. Once when Brees threw a pick six against Tampa Bay, and the other time when they got a push at +3 versus the Patriots. The Jets are also a team that seem to play much better when the whole nation is down on them.

Yet, this isn't a game I can pass up at this number.  They are likely the consensus pick for most bettors this week, so we know who the sportsbooks will be rooting for. At worst, I expect the Saints to win the game and cover a teaser.

NFL Pick: Saints -6.
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