New Orleans Saints (7-9) at New England Patriots (13-5)
|Date & Time||Thursday August 11, 2016, 7:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: New England Patriots -4 -- Over/Under: 39.5
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The New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots play preseason Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.
The New Orleans Saints haven’t missed the playoffs three straight years in quite some time and Sean Payton would like to keep it that way. The Saints have the playmakers on offense in Drew Brees and Brandin Cooks, but this game will be about the backups in Luke McCown and Garrett Grayson. Ohio State rookie Michael Thomas also has a chance to crack the starting wide receiver corps if he can be the playmaker New Orleans hopes to see. Defensively, the New Orleans Saints have a lot of young hungry players including Sheldon Rankings, Von Bell and De'vante Harris. Defensively is what the Saints should be watching, as there is playing time on the table for younger players.
The New England Patriots are still head and shoulders the favorites to win the AFC East, but they have the Tom Brady issue to figure out. Brady is allowed to play in the preseason but is suspended for the first four games. That raises questions whether Brady should even take snaps in the preseason or just hand the keys over to new starter Jimmy Garoppolo. The Pats may also have a new starting left guard in rookie and third-round pick Joe Thuney. Defensively, the New England Patriots starting unit is pretty much set, but it’s going to be interesting to see if young guys like Cyrus Jones or Trey Flowers can really emerge as key backups this season.
The Saints are 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 games on fieldturf and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Patriots are 18-7-2 ATS in their last 27 home games. The home team is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
You have to think the Patriots are going to play Garoppolo a lot this preseason, as he's a backup who is now a full-time starter for a quarter of the season. He has to get a lot of reps. That stability gives New England the edge in preseason games. The Saints also didn't win a single preseason game last season. Give me the Pats and reasonable chalk.