When the NFL released the 2012-13 schedule, I don’t think anyone would have thought that the New Orleans Saints, with match-ups against the Washington Redskins in week one and Carolina Panthers in week two, would find themselves 0-2. They are in a must-win situation (1pm ET, Sunday Sept 23).
Again, the schedule here would seem to favor the Saints who really should be 2-0. The Kansas City Chiefs however are not going to give the Saints an easy win. Although they too are 0-2, the Chiefs have played solidly against the Atlanta Falcons and Buffalo Bills.
So in an unexpected match-up of two winless teams, who will come out on top? Which offense and which QB will be as advertised? Which defense will manage to hold up for four quarters?
Paytonless equals winless for the New Orleans Saints
If you were to look up the definition of winless, in context of the 2012 season for the Saints, something would immediately strike your attention. The formula for the Saints this season has really been simple as a result: no Sean Payton, no wins.
When the bountygate situation unfolded in this offseason, Saints fans definitely worried about the future of their team. They lost defensive coordinator Gregg Williams for his role in creating the pay-for-play system and linebacker Jonathan Vilma for his assumed role in it. Although losing these players was huge for New Orleans, the biggest bomb drop came when head coach Sean Payton was going to be serving a year suspension. The NFL believed he should have been more aware and able to stop the bounties.
Payton as a head coach was always someone the Saints could look to. Quarterback Drew Brees especially looked to Payton and the two have always had a close relationship. In addition to his being the coach, Payton also called plays and had an active role in the team’s offensive and defensive systems.
BetOnline Betting Lines (accepts all USA clients):
-110 Chiefs +8pt; -110 Saints -8pt
Bovada (all US except Maryland, Utah, NY, Washington):
-115 Chiefs +9pts; -105 Saints -9pts
Bet365 (for UK & all non-USA residents):
10/11 Chiefs +8pts; 10/11 Saints -8pts
Before Payton, a former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, came to the team in 2006, the New Orleans Saints were known around the league as the “Aints.” The team existed in mediocrity and fans abashedly wore brown paper bags on their heads as they watched the team fail time and again.
Payton and Brees arrived in New Orleans together and really began to form what looked like the makings of a dynasty. After a 10-6 season in 2006 coupled with the team’s first playoff appearance since 2000, the Saints have gone on to post winning records and playoff appearances since 2009, the year in which they won the franchise’s first Superbowl.
With Payton, the team was 67-37 in six seasons. Without him and his leadership, they are 0-2.
The Saints Need to Help Out Drew Brees
In baseball, there is an analogy that pitchers need run support. Even if they give up zero runs in a game, their team won’t win if the offense doesn’t score.
For the Saints and QB Drew Brees, this is actually the opposite. The Saints offense is scoring but it is the defense, the equivalent of the pitcher in baseball that just seems to keep giving up touchdowns.
Brees is once again having a pretty good season. In two games he has thrown for 664 yards and four touchdowns. He does however have four interceptions and has only completed a tick under 55% of his passes. Still he has done what he can after the defense has put the team in a hole.
In their first game of the season, a 32-40 loss against the Redskins, Brees watched his defense give up ten points a quarter. Brees got the Saints a lead at 7-3 in the first but after that he was just playing catch-up. The Redskins picked apart the Saints defense and led 33-17 at the beginning of the fourth. Although Brees performed well in the fourth throwing two touchdowns and no interceptions, it was too little too late.
After allowing Robert Griffin III to burn them for 40 points, the Saints defense was powerless to stop Cam Newton from doing the same thing. Utilizing a very similar style of play, the defense still looked unprepared for the physical game of Newton and the Panthers. They gave up 35 points as Brees and the offense could only manage 27.
Although Brees has not been perfect this season, the Saints offense has still done enough to be ranked fourth in passing yards per game. They haven’t fared as well in the running game only rushing for 97.5 yards a game, but it is the defensive numbers that are really glaring.
The Saints defense is ranked 26th in allowing 275 yards to opponents in the pass game and dead last in allowing 186 rushing yards a game. They are near the bottom in total points and total yards allowed as well.
Although the Saints have never been known for their defense, it has never been this bad. In the past, the offense, always ranked among the best in the league, has managed to outscore what the defense has allowed minimizing just how bad they really are.
Chiefs v Saints Picks & Betting Advice
The KC offense is in the top ten in the league as they are tenth in passing yards and fifth in rushing yards a game. Against a Saints defense that gives up 40 yards more than the Chiefs average in the passing game and over 45 more in the rushing game, Chief’s QB Matt Cassel and running backs, Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis could be in for good days.
That said, Drew Brees is still one of the best in the game. He can carve up any defense and should easily be able to pass for over 300 yards again against the Chiefs.
Most people are calling for this to be a blowout but don’t be so sure about that. In fact if this Saints defense is as bad as it has been, don’t expect any of the Saints’ games this season to be a one sided scoring affair.
- The Saints have to beat the Chiefs by over 8pts to cover the spread and this does not seem likely. While I expect the Saints to get their first win of the season, I think it will be a close-scoring game where KC beats the spread. So I take the Chiefs to win with the +8pts advantage on the sportsbooks’ spread @ -110 with BetOnline Sportsbook (accepts all Americans). It is +9pts @ -115 with Bovada (takes all states except NY, Utah, Washington, Maryland). Non-Americans should bet with Bet365.
- It is also worth noting that the Saints average 29.5 PPG and that the Chiefs give up 37.5 PPG. New Orleans has also met the over in their last five games and five of six at home. At 53 points for the total, based on the scoring and defensive let downs of these two teams as well as the Saints recent trend against scoring over the starting total mark, take the over 53 overall points bet @ odds of -110 with both BetOnline Sportsbook & Bovada. Non-Americans are advised to bet with Bet365.