The New Orleans Saints were perennial postseason contenders during the final three seasons with Drew Brees at quarterback, but it wasn’t always just about Drew. The offensive skills players around him, headlined by 2019 Offensive Player of the Year Michael Thomas and 2017 Offensive Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara, helped create an offensive juggernaut in New Orleans.
Now, without QB Jameis Winston, WR Michael Thomas, and the status of RB Alvin Kamara in question, the New Orleans Saints are traveling to Nashville to face the Tennessee Titans. The Titans have been dealing with their own share of injuries, most notably to Pro Bowl running back and MVP-candidate Derrick Henry. Still, even without Henry, the Titans were able to beat the Super Bowl-contending Los Angeles Rams, while the Saints lost a nail-biter to the division rival Atlanta Falcons. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Saints are currently 2.5 point road underdogs, and while no one is picking the Saints to upset the Titans on Sunday, most analysts are picking a low-scoring game where the Saints might cover the spread.
The Tennessee Titans are 1-0 straight-up and against the spread without star running back Derrick Henry, but that is the smallest sample of games possible. It’s fair to be wary about how they’ll deal with the New Orleans Saints at home Sunday afternoon.
Still, they’re laying less than a field goal at this point against a team that also remains far from healthy coming off a home loss to the inferior Falcons. The majority of the gang is willing to lay 2.5 points with Ryan Tannehill and Co.
“Tennessee needed a boost after the loss of Henry, and it appears the defense has come alive,” Rogers said. “While Trevor Siemian has been surprisingly efficient for the Saints, this feels like a come-down-to-earth week for him. The Titans have had double-digit win margins in three of their last five wins (they’ve won five straight). They should keep things rolling at home.”
It’s true, the Titans are arguably the hottest team in the league. But it sure helped that Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams offense basically handed them two first-half touchdowns Sunday night. That’s not a sustainable model, and the well-coached, defensively stout Saints could put up a fight here.
In fact, Gagnon and O’Donnell believe they can steal this one on the road.
Gagnon: New Orleans
O’Donnell: New Orleans
Score Prediction: Titans 24, Saints 20
MDS’s pick: Titans 27, Saints 17.
Florio’s take: Alvin Kamara‘s knee injury becomes a big problem for a Saints team that already has lost its starting quarterback. The Titans are in an impressive groove, winning five in a row and making a real run at the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
Florio’s pick: Titans 24, Saints 20.
The Saints (5-3) are marching into Tennessee and bringing their inconsistencies with them. New Orleans has been the toughest team to predict all season, and after winning three straight games, they lost to the inferior Falcons last week.
The Titans (7-2), meanwhile, have been steady, and continued their ascent last week, even without the workhorse running back Derrick Henry. Tennessee’s defense sacked Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford five times and so could rattle Saints backup Trevor Siemian. The Saints’ defense is strong, but the Titans should be able to take this one if they can score proficiently with their play-action. Pick: Titans -3
The Titans are riding high after their impressive upset over the Rams last week, while the Saints are coming off a tough loss to the Falcons. There will be a natural letdown for the Titans, and without Derrick Henry the offense will struggle some against a good Saints defense. This one will be close, but the Titans will win it late.
Pick: Titans 23, Saints 22
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