Green Bay Packers (5-2 SU, 4-2-1 ATS) vs. New Orleans Saints (2-4 SU, 2-4 ATS)
NFL Week 8
Date and Time: October 26 8:30 ET
Where: Mercedez-Benz Superdome
by Evergreen, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: GB +2/NO -2
Over/Under Total: 55
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Week 8 has plenty of matchups that will go a long way to deciding playoff fates and probably the best one comes Sunday night when the Green Bay Packers take on the New Orleans Saints. Aaron Rodgers has the Pack on a four game win streak but they have a tough task ahead of them if they want to make it five in a row as the Saints remain one of the best home teams in the NFL. New Orleans is pushing the panic button at 2-4 but sit only one game back in the NFC South and all will probably be well if they can take out Green Bay on Sunday Night Football.
The betting information for this game is a little muddy as most online sportsbooks opened with the Saints as 2.5 point favorites but the early action now has this game anywhere from Saints -2 to a pick em depending on where you look. And who knows where it ultimately winds up given how much action Green Bay games typically get. The over/under total for the game is 55.
Green Bay has played well after a 1-2 start and has four straight ATS wins to go with the straight up success. The Packers have struggled with lesser competition however, going 0-for-5 against the spread in the last five games against teams with a losing record. New Orleans sits on the other side with 16 ATS wins in the last 21 games as host against a visitor with a winning record. Both teams have been paying the over bets lately with Green Bay pushing the over in the last four and the Saints have seen the over hit in five of the last six.
Peyton Manning is getting all the press that comes with breaking NFL records but Aaron Rodgers has a strong argument for MVP with 18 touchdown passes against one interception. The offense isnt quite a juggernaut, ranking just 25th in total yards per game but the Pack manages a 4th best, 28.4 points per game. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are in the conversation of best WR duos and have combined for 1,174 yards and 14 touchdowns already. Davante Adams has come on to be a reliable third option for Rodgers and all three Packers wide outs found the endzone last week. Eddie Lacy is sophomore slumping but has run better recently, pushing his average yards per carry to 4.0 and he has four touchdowns.
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Drew Brees is doing a lot of typical Brees things, throwing for 319 yards a game but has seven interceptions alongside his 11 touchdowns. That hasnt been enough and the Saints have been on the wrong side of three razor thin losses. New Orleans lost by three to Atlanta, by two at Cleveland and by just one last week in Detroit. They are probably the best 2-win team in the NFL if such a thing exists and they are certainly looking forward to taking the Superdome field again. Brees has used his running backs and tight ends for 104 completions so far with the wide receivers accounting for 74. That has kept a bit of a cap on the offense but the Saints are still the 2nd best passing offense in the league and average 25.8 points per game.
Both teams are reasonably healthy but there are a few injuries of note. Green Bay will likely be without RB James Starks and CB Sam Shields. Starks had been coming on as a nice complement to Lacy and Shields loss could be an issue against a pass-happy offense. New Orleans RB Pierre Thomas is out 2-3 weeks with a rib injury but Travaris Cadet is nearly as effective in the passing game and should fill that hole nicely. The Saints also will be without C Jonathan Goodwin, a much tougher man to replace. Watch the injury status of TE Jimmy Graham as well. The Pro Bowl pass catcher was active last week but didnt manage a catch in limited action but also didnt reinjure his shoulder and should be more of a factor in this one.
Expect the usual success from Rodgers as the Saints are the fifth worst defense against the pass. New Orleans is stout against the run but that just puts the ball in the air more which is a fine scenario for Green Bay. Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson should see plenty of room to run against the 31st ranked run defense but Brees will be busy as it looks like this one will be a shootout. New Orleans is a cornered animal at home and those close losses could easily have gone the other way. Keep your eye on the line movements as they wont solidify until late in the week but getting the Saints as a pick em at home is a rarity. Even laying just one or two hasnt been seen much in the Brees era. The Packers are good, maybe great, but the defense isnt good enough to shutdown the Saints and this one could very well come down to the final possession. Give me the Saints to pull out a late win instead of another heartbreak loss. NO 31 GB 28
Evergreen’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: NEW ORLEANS