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Week 12 New England vs. New Orleans Preview

Monday Night Football Pick – Week 12

Have any NFL odds gotten as much hype as tonight’s Patriots/Saints matchup? Everyone and his grandson will tune in for tonight’s epic battle. On one hand we have the legendary Tom Brady and Randy Moss taking the national stage to slay Goliath; on the other we have the high-flying Saints trying to stay undefeated at home. Let’s attempt the daunting task of picking a winner.

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New England Patriots @ New Orleans Saints (-1.5)
Tonight, 8:35 p.m. ET

I’ll cut right to the chase: the Saints should feel disrespected by the 1.5-point spread, one that reflects a general media bias toward Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots dynasty. To assume the storied Pats will dethrone the Saints is to ignore the numbers, which don’t actually favor New England at all.

My assertion has nothing to do with Brady and the Patriots offense; it’s safe to say they’ll do their part tonight. Brady has totally rediscovered the rapport he had with Randy Moss and Wes Welker in 2007, terrorizing opposing defenses and leading the Pats to the AFC’s No. 1 offensive rank this season. The Saints’ ball-hawk defense, led by Darren Sharper, has made plenty of good quarterbacks look bad this year, but the wily Brady won’t get scared by Gregg Williams’ blitzing schemes.

New England’s real problem is that we have no reason to believe they’ll stop Drew Brees or Marques Colston or Jeremy Shockey or Pierre Thomas or any part of the Saints’ offense. The Patriots have one of the NFL’s top pass defenses statistically but that’s not hard to do when you’ve faced Mark Sanchez twice, Trent Edwards, Josh Johnson, Kerry Collins, Kyle Orton and Chad Henne – not exactly a who’s who of NFL quarterbacks, is it? New England did handle sophomores Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco – at home. On the road, where the Patriots are just 1-3 this season, they couldn’t stop Peyton Manning and the Colts to save their lives. Manning drove on New England again and again, amassing 327 passing yards four touchdown passes.

The Patriots’ defense has only faced one tough road challenge and it failed miserably. Why, then, should we expect the “D” to handle the Saints, who have an even better offense than Indianapolis? If New England gets a lead it may have trouble holding the lead; Laurence Maroney’s running has improved but Sedrick Ellis is back at nose tackle and ready to start plugging holes again for the Saints.

You’d be wise to bet over the total tonight (unlike in Florida Alabama betting) as both quarterbacks should have big days. But the Saints run the ball better and their defense has conquered tougher opponents. We also can’t forget that the Louisiana Superdome is a rowdy place and New England has just one road win this year. Make the Saints your NFL picks.

Online sportsbook pick: Saints -1.5

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