Denver Broncos (6-3 SU, 6-3 ATS) vs. New Orleans Saints (4-4 SU, 6-2 ATS)
NFL Week 10
Date/Time: Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 1PM EST
Where: Mercedes Benz Superdome
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: DEN +2/NO -2
Over/Under Total: 49
On Sunday in a big week ten matchup, the Denver Broncos make the trip to the Superdome to face the New Orleans Saints. The Broncos absorbed their third loss of the season with a Sunday Night Football loss to the Raiders, 30-20. At 6-3, they are now looking up at both the Raiders and the Chiefs and canít afford too many more setbacks with things already looking dicey after a 2-3 run in their last five games. The Saints find themselves on the upswing after winning their fourth in five games with a 41-23 win over the 49ers on the road on Sunday. In the NFC South at 4-4, they have new life and momentum entering this big matchup.
After an 0-3 start, people were eager to pile dirt on the Saints, but theyíve sprung back to life lately. They had a lot of issues early in the season that have been ironed out and theyíre getting better play on both sides of the ball. Theyíve been pretty dependable in a betting sense with 6 covers in 8 tries. Drew Brees is playing well and theyíve seen a ground-game explode in form in recent weeks, giving the offense a whole new dimension and element of danger. Itís given the other side of the ball more bite and the proof is in the pudding. Being 4-4 might not be all that great, but itís pretty good after being 0-3 and theyíre on the heels of Atlanta now.
Sunday saw another top performance from Drew Brees, who was over 300 yards yet again. He threw three touchdowns and no interceptions. He works well with a versatile pass-catching crew with Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead, rookie stud Michael Thomas, as well as the backfield contributing aerially. Tim Hightower has been excellent lately, making some flashy runs. Mark Ingram also put 158 yards on the ground and a touchdown, while also catching a TD pass. This offense is really rounding into shape.
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The defense has certainly gotten a boost from the offense. The run-game allows them to not be on the field so much and their margin for error is greater. Even if this offense is just OK, there is room for the offense to shine and for the Saints to be in a lot of games this season. Earlier in the season, their lack of stoutness and clutch play was alarming and threatened to derail the entire 2016 Saints season. They can still be very leaky, particularly against the pass. If they can merely get the occasional big play and timely stop, it would go a long way. And lately, theyíve been getting just that.
After a 4-0 start, the Broncos havenít looked great, going 2-3. Some injury issues have surfaced, with the run-game, O-line, and a top-rated secondary all being affected. Even quarterback Trevor Siemian has missed some time, which hasnít been easy for him to bounce back from. Von Miller is still wreaking havoc, but the rest of the defense has taken a step back in recent weeks in terms of pass-rush and just their overall zeal. Weíre not used to seeing offenses getting the best of this group and thatís what we saw against the Raiders. Still, letís pump the brakes a bit before we relegate the 6-3 Broncos to the scrap heap.
Those touting the Broncos heavily after the 4-0 start have been forced to recalibrate their expectations perhaps. The offense is a pretty dicey unit, despite some abundant talent, especially in the passing game. Siemian aired it out some against the Raiders last week, but with Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and some interesting role players developing, Siemian isnít getting the most of what he has. Theyíre ranked 28th in total offense and their run-game with CJ Anderson out of action looks to be in big trouble. The line doesnít seem to be in peak form and now center Matt Paradis is iffy,
Not having Aqib Talib has been hurting the secondary that has looked a bit compromised lately. And against Oakland, it was more about how the ground-defense folded against the Raiders in giving up over 200 yards. Oakland isnít particularly given to going off on the ground. This part of the team is their key to success. But unless they tighten up some in coming weeks, the offense will be under a lot of pressure. This week will be a real test of where this Denver defense stands midseason.
One can see a fork on the road developing for both teams heading into this week. Denver needs a positive development in a big way with them now in third in the division. New Orleans, meanwhile, didnít have it easy getting to this point and isnít likely to be easily parted with this newfound momentum. They might be able to test the Broncosí defense to as much of an extent as Oakland did last week. Iím taking the Saints.
Scott's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Iím betting on the New Orleans Saints minus 2 points.
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