Preview and Prediction for Monday Night Football
The Washington Redskins are coming off a bye week, but opponents thus far have not needed a lot of game planning to exploit the holes that exist in the New Orleans Saints defense. Both of these teams can move the ball, and we shall see who will come up with the critical stops as they meet up in the Monday night football game, scheduled to begin at 8:15 PM ET at the Superdome in New Orleans. ESPN will televise it, and remember that if you are a BetAnySports customer, you can watch it live and place wagers in real-time through the mechanism provided by Live Betting Ultra.
If New Orleans could get more pressure on the passer, they might be able to prompt some quicker decisions on the part of the quarterback. However, we wonder if such a thing would work against Alex Smith, who is one of the more wily veterans meaning the quarterback position. As you may or may not know, Smith led the NFL in passing efficiency last season, and he has proven a quick study in this Washington offense which is roughly similar to what he operated in Kansas City. Interestingly enough, the Redskins have run the football at a higher rate (49.25%) than any other team in the NFL. It would have been their intention to do so with Derrius Guice, the running back out of LSU who they drafted on the second round, but he got hurt in the preseason and is out for the year. Adrian Peterson, who started last season with the Saints but was cut, has stepped in and done more than an adequate job, running for 236 yards thus far (4.2 per carry). His efforts have been complemented by the dual threat Chris Thompson, who averages 5.5 yards and has also caught 20 passes.
The Saints have been through a couple of wild games, and Drew Brees has not shown any signs of slowing down. This year he has completed 76% of his passes, which would be on target for a new accuracy record, and he's thrown no interceptions through the first four games. Washington, statistically speaking, has done very well against the pass, so this would be something of a challenge.
In the Monday night football odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Saints are favored:
New Orleans Saints -6
Washington Redskins +6
Over 51.5 points -110
Under 51.5 points -110
Smith has found himself susceptible to sacks in the past, but if you can't pressure him, you better figure out some other way to deal with him. He has a number of receivers he can distribute to, and New Orleans has, by and large, not stopped many opponents through the air. They have, in fact, allowed 9.3 yards per attempt, and #2 cornerback Ken Crawley has not been much of an impediment, allowing the people he's covered to catch 25 passes in 27 targets. Opposing offenses have converted 45.7% on third downs against Dennis Allen's defensive unit. And Smith has never been the kind of quarterback who gives free chances away; he has thrown only one interception in 86 attempts.
Washington's secondary has been pretty solid, allowing just 5.1 yards per passing attempt. And consider that they have already faced the likes of Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers. Somehow, we wonder if that kind of thing really matters against Brees, but who improvises about as well as anyone. Top receiver Michael Thomas has already caught 42 passes for 445 yards, and will see how Josh Norman matches up against him. Brees is only 201 yards away from setting the new all-time NFL record for passing yards, currently held by New Orleans native Peyton Manning.
The Saints have run the ball only 36% of the time, what we should expect a gradual increase in that percentage, since Mark Ingram has now returned from his four-game suspension. Alvin Kamara is a beast; there is no other way to put it. Not only does he have 275 rushing yards, but also 336 receiving yards on 35 receptions. The quicker he is able to reunite with Ingram in that magical combination, the better off New Orleans will be. It is important to note that Washington's defense has allowed more rushing yards BEFORE contact than anyone else, so it goes without saying that they've had problems getting penetration.
From a technical standpoint, the trends support going OVER the total year. Washington has played ten overs in its last 14 road games, while New Orleans has played eight of its last 12 in the Superdome over the total. Logistically, we can also support exceeding this number, because you've got two capable offenses, with accurate quarterbacks, and defenses with weaknesses that can be exploited.
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