New York Jets (3-0) vs. New Orleans Saints (3-0), The Superdome, New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 4th, 4 PM Eastern, CBS
By Z-Man of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Jets +7/Saints -7
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Two of the hottest teams in the league to start this season mix it up Sunday when the NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints welcome the AFC East-leading New York Jets to town for an interesting interconference bout.
Most online sportsbooks opened this game with New Orleans favored by 6.5 points, but as of Thursday morning the Saints had been bet up to -7 almost everywhere. And while most bookies started the total on this game at 46.5, 47 and even 48, that number has been bet down almost everywhere to 45.
The Jets, operating under a new head coach and with a rookie starting at QB, opened the season with a 24-7 win at Houston as 4 1/2-point underdogs. New York then upset AFC East rival New England 16-9 as 3 1/2-point home dogs. And last week the Jets took advantage of two Tennessee special teams fumbles to beat the Titans 24-17 and cover the spread as one-point favorites at home.
Through the first three weeks of this season, the Jets defense has held opponents to a total of 33 points, 2nd-fewest in the league, behind Denver.
The Saints opened this season with a 45-27 beating of the Detroit Lions, then went to Philly and pounded the McNabb-less Eagles 48-22. Last week, in Buffalo, New Orleans ran for 222 yards and downed the Bills 27-7.
The Saints covered vs. the Lions as 14-point home chalk, vs. Philly as 2 1/2-point road faves and vs. Buffalo as 5 1/2-point chalk on the road.
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Running the most proficient offense in the league at the moment, New Orleans is averaging 40 PPG, 438 YPG and, maybe most importantly, 171 rushing YPG.
Jets rookie QB Mark Sanchez, trying to follow in the mold of Atlanta’s Matt Ryan and Baltimore’s Joe Flacco in leading his team to the playoffs as a professional freshman, has completed 49 of 83 passes so far this year for a 7.3 YPA average, with four TDs and two INTs, and an 87.7 QB rating. He also bulled his way into the end zone last week for a score, but he may not want to try that again, after absorbing a pretty good hit right at the goal line.
On the other side of this quarterback match-up, New Orleans’ Drew Brees is 67 of 97 passing so far this year, for an 8.7 YPA average, nine TDs and two interceptions, and a league-leading 118.1 QB rating.
These two teams last met four years ago, when the Saints, quarterbacked by Aaron Brooks, beat the Jets, QB’d by Brooks Bollinger, 21-19 at Giants Stadium.
Through the first three weeks of this NFL season, home teams are just 25-23 straight up, 20-28 vs. the point spreads. Favorites are 33-15 SU and 26-22 vs. the numbers. And home favorites are 21-11 outright but just 15-17 ATS.
Also, NFL totals have split right down the middle so far, going 24-24.
New Orleans went 10-5-1 against the spread last season, 4-2 ATS at home, and 2-0 vs. the numbers when favored by seven points or more. They also went 10-5-1 on the totals, as Saints games averaged over 53 points per.
The Jets went 7-9 vs. the pointspreads last season, 4-4 ATS on the road, and 0-1 vs. the numbers when getting seven points or more. They also went 9-7 on the totals, as their games averaged nearly 48 points. But for this team, last year was last year.
In the Sagarin PURE POINTS ratings at USAToday.com, the Saints top the chart at 29.25, while the Jets ranks seventh at 25.0. Sagarin’s current NFL home-field advantage figure sits at 3.2.
Zman’s Pick: I’m going to ride the Saints train u ntil it slows down.