Free NFL Pick: Saints vs. Bengals
New Orleans Saints (7-1 SU, 6-2 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS)
When: November 11, 2018, 1:00 PM EST
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
BY: Rick Wise
Point Spread: NO -4.5/CIN +4.5
Takeaways From Week 9
The Saints won their seventh game in a row and handed the Los Angeles Rams their first loss of the season Sunday with a commanding 45-35 victory that establishes New Orleans as the team to beat in the NFC.
Offensive fireworks were on the menu for this one and the Saints and Rams delivered right out of the gate. It looked like a Big 12 game in spots as both combined for 970 total yards, 54 first downs and 10 touchdowns. Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense were the sharper of the two, though, boasting multiple players with humongous days. Brees finished 25-of-36 for 346 yards and 4 touchdowns, Alvin Kamara recorded 116 yards from scrimmage (82 rushing and 34 receiving) and 3 touchdowns and Michael Thomas nabbed 12 passes for 211 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown catch in the 4th quarter.
Defense didn’t make much of an impression in this game. At least not good defense. The Saints conceded a whopping 483 yards of total offense and allowed three Rams receivers to post big numbers, but on the positive side the unit made one of the biggest plays of the day when linebacker Alex Anzalone made a spectacular diving interception of Jared Goff right before the half.
Meanwhile, the Bengals were idle on Sunday but put an end to their two-game skid two Sundays ago after Randy Bullock’s 44-yard field goal at the end of regulation lifted them to a 37-34 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Any way you slice it, this game was ugly. Particularly for the defense, who allowed the Bucs to pile up an insane 576 total yards of offense. It was the second straight game the Bengals conceded over 500 yards of offense after giving up 551 yards to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs the week before. The defense did, however, intercept Jameis Winston 4 times and sacked him five times.
Rookie safety Jessie Bates essentially saved the game for Cincinnati with a third quarter pick-six that extended their lead to 34-16 with 2:10 left in the third quarter. The Bengals went three and out on their first four possessions of the second half and it was really only their rash of interceptions that kept Tampa from taking the lead.
The Bengals and Saints don’t share much of a history. They’ve met each other just 13 times dating back to 1970 and the Bengals lead the series 7-6-0. The series is split right down the middle as of late with each side taking 5 of the last 10 matchups going back to 1981.
For New Orleans, DE Marcus Davenport (toe) is listed as out for Sunday’s game. WR Tommylee Lewis (knee) has reportedly returned to practice from injured reserve.
For Cincinnati, listed as questionable for Sunday is G Clint Boling (back), CB Dre Kirkpatrick (Achilles), CB Darqueze Denard (shoulder), TE Tyler Kroft (foot), LB Nick Vigil (knee).
When the Saints Have the Ball
Despite having one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, the Saints have employed a very balanced attack this season. They’re passing the ball 55.96% of the time versus running it 44.04% for NFL rankings of 24th and 9th, respectively. Interestingly enough, those rankings flip flop when it comes to passing and rushing yards per game averages, where New Orleans owns the NFL’s 7th-ranked passing offense and its 15th-ranked ground game. And therein might lie the secret to Drew Brees’ success: balance. But then, all that might not matter much against the Bengals, who rank dead last in the league in total defense, dead last in passing defense 26th in run defense and 30th in scoring defense.
When the Bengals Have the Ball
Unfortunately for Bengals fans, this team has issues on both sides of the ball. They own the NFL’s 24th-ranked total offense, its 26th-ranked rushing offense and its 17th-ranked passing offense. But Sunday could provide some much-needed breathing room for this unit as the Saints aren’t exactly stout defensively. They rank 25th in the league in total defense, 31st in pass defense and 27th in scoring defense. The Saints do own the league’s top run defense though. Looks like another shootout.
- New Orleans is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games
- New Orleans is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
- New Orleans is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
- New Orleans is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games on the road
- New Orleans is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Cincinnati
- New Orleans is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing Cincinnati
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of New Orleans’s last 7 games when playing Cincinnati
- Cincinnati is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games
- Cincinnati is 7-3 SU in its last 10 games
- The total has gone OVER in 6 of Cincinnati’s last 9 games
- Cincinnati is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games at home
- Cincinnati is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games when playing New Orleans
- Cincinnati is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing New Orleans
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Cincinnati’s last 7 games when playing New Orleans
Temperatures around 44 degrees are expected for this game under overcast skies with 56% humidity and 8 mph winds from the south
Rick Wise’s Pick
New Orleans -4.5