NFL Week 3 – New Orleans Saints vs. Buffalo Bills
How high can the O/U go in Saints games? 55? 60? 70?
In racing off to a 2-0 start, Drew Brees and the Saints are already being compared to the 2007 New England Patriots, who won 16 straight in the regular season before that Super Bowl flameout. Tom Brady threw 50 touchdown passes that season, and there is speculation that Brees will challenge that record.
Time: Sunday 4:05 ET
Venue: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo
MoneyLine: Bills +210 (-110) / Saints -250 (-110)
Spread: Saints -6
Indeed, the Saints’ early-season numbers are staggering. The O/U in the opener Detroit was 50, and that was taken out by 22 (45-27). The number slid to 46 for the Philadelphia game, and that was covered by early in the third period. By the time the Saints were done, they have overcome the over on their own ball.
Into the ring now step the Buffalo Bills, who are 1-1 but are only one late-game brain burp (that fumble in New England) from being undefeated themselves. Early concern about the Bills’ offense has proven unfounded. They have moved the ball against the Pats and also Tampa Bay. But Buffalo, which gets 6 at home, may find it difficult to find the end zone if its defense is on the field for most of the afternoon.
Buffalo’s pass defense got the job done against New England until the final 5 minutes of the game, and Tampa Bay’s offense is in disarray. Brees, however, is a different kettle of fish. Through two games he has nine touchdown passes and 669 yards. Think Dick Jauron has any answer for that?
What is even more cause for concern for the Bills is the fact that last week Brees completed passes to nine different receivers. In week one Jeremy Shockey caught two TDs, and last weekend Marques Colston had a couple. “Next week,” Brees quipped after the Philadelphia game, “it will probably be someone else.”
Completely overlooked in all the talk about New Orleans’s balls-to-the-wall offense is the fact that its defense hasn’t been all that bad. NO has forced opponents into six turnovers this season, and the Saints are plus-3 over two games, a stat which often makes the difference between winning and losing in the NFL.
The Saints are hungry for a playoff spot after sitting out in 2007 and ’08 following their unlikely 2006 run to the NFC Championship.
Buffalo, which faded down the stretch last season after a 5-1 start against weak competition, is badly in need of a signature victory that would give the franchise a much-needed shot of adrenaline. Another mediocre season would serve to fuel even more speculation that the team will not be in western New York much longer.
Already one game a year is played in Toronto, and the fan base is getting impatient after four straight losing seasons and three consecutive 7-9 records. It’s small consolation that the Bills are 2-0 ATS. Fans want SU victories.
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Lawrence Paul is a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog, and is a free-lance gambling and travel writer from Massachusetts.