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Redskins vs. New Orleans Saints Pick
New Orleans Saints (11-0 SU, 8-3 ATS) vs. Washington Redskins (3-8 SU, 4-6-1 ATS), NFL Week 13, 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, December 6, 2009, FedEx Field, Landover, Md. TV: FOX
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Saints -9.5/Redskins +9.5
Any doubts about how legitimate the undefeated New Orleans Saints are were answered Monday night when they pummeled the New England Patriots, 38-17. It is now entirely conceivable that the Saints could finish the regular season undefeated. The Washington Redskins have had a disappointing season but they are playing much better lately, and they have a chance to ruin the Saints’ undefeated season when they host New Orleans on Sunday.
The major difference between the Saints in previous years and this year is their defense. They totally confused the Tom Brady and the Patriots and intercepted two of his passes. The Saints lead the NFL in interceptions with 22. Veteran safety Darren Sharper has been spectacular with eight of those interceptions himself.
On offense, the Saints are nearly unstoppable most of the time. Drew Brees has thrown for 3,117 yards, 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions. And with all of his passing success, no Saints receiver even has 50 receptions for 850 yards. Marques Colston leads the way with 48 receptions for 808 yards and seven touchdowns. Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem, Jeremy Shockey and Reggie Bush have all been legitimate threats catching the ball as well. Another reason the Saints have been so dominant this season is their running game. They have a balanced offense. Brees has always been great, but now Pierre Thomas, Mike Bell and Bush give the Saints a solid running attack. The three of them have combined for 1,489 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns.
The Saints have scored at least 24 points in every game this season and haven’t allowed more than 23 points in any of their last four games. On the road, the Saints have had some close calls. At the lowly Rams, the Saints only won by five, 26-21. At the Dolphins, the Saints trailed 24-3 and battled back furiously for a 46-34 victory.
The Redskins have had a miserable season but they have been playing well in their last three games. They defeated the Broncos 27-17, had a 6-0 lead on the Cowboys late in the fourth quarter before a game-winning touchdown by Dallas, and had a 24-16 lead in the fourth quarter over the Eagles before Donovan McNabb led the Eagles to a comeback 27-24 victory. It’s been very impressive that the Redskins have been so competitive with so many injuries. Running backs Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts are both out and Rock Cartwright is now the ball carrier. Tackle Chris Samuels, tight end Chris Cooley and corner back Deangelo Hall have all been out as well. But the Redskins defense, which has been solid all year long, has really stepped up lately and given the Redskins a chance to win games. Jason Campbell is managing the offense well and not turning the ball over as much. He did throw two interceptions against the Eagles on Sunday, but he also threw two touchdown passes and ran for a touchdown.
For the season, Campbell has 2,357 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Santana Moss is his leading receiver with 44 receptions for 574 yards and three touchdowns. Antwaan Randle El has 36 receptions for 385 yards.
The Redskins defense has been very good this season but it must be at its best against the Saints for the Redskins to have a chance to keep this game close. The Saints have scored at least 24 points in every game this season and the Redskins haven’t scored more than 27 in any game and have only scored more than 17 twice this season. Both times they’ve scored more than 17 points were in the last three weeks so they are doing better on offense, but they don’t want to get into an offensive war with the Saints. They have to shut down the Saints offense (easier said than done) and protect the ball on offense.
The total has gone over in four of Washington’s last five games. The Redskins are 5-11-3 ATS in their last 19 games. The Saints are 8-3 ATS this season. They are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games.
Ryno’s Pick: It’s hard to bet against the Saints this season. Not only are the winning games, but they have been consistently covering as well. This will be a battle of a very good defense and a very good offense, but the Saints defense is better than the Redskins offense. Unless Drew Brees throws a bunch of interceptions (unlikely), it will be tough for the Redskins to keep up with the Saints’ scoring. The Redskins have been playing well lately and the Saints are in a short week, but if the Saints can blow out the Patriots, they’ve got to be able to win easily against the Redskins. Take the Saints -9.5.