The New Orleans Saints travel to Jersey hoping not to lose their sixth-consecutive game of the season as they face the New York Jets. Of all the games the 2021 Saints schedule, this game appeared to be the surest win for the team, but now that outlook is murky at best. The Saints are just so injured and beleaguered that a loss to the lowly Jets would not be surprising in the least.
Sporting arguably the worst offense in the entire league, the Saints season has taken a nosedive during this five-game freefall. The offense under Sean Payton used to soar, but this season they've failed to get off the tarmac. Despite the faintest of playoff hopes remaining, few parachutes remain in the cabin, and this season is plummeting down to earth. Can they pull up in time before the season goes down in flames? We’ll have to wait until Sunday to know for sure, but the Saints are losing altitude rapidly, and the time to recover is almost over.
Let’s take a look at all of the crucial matchups in the league this week as we enter the final stretch of the 2021 NFL season. Check out the lines for all of this week’s games courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Last week I went 8-6
I told you so: Pats over Bills!
What do I know: Saints over Cowboys?
Thursday, December 9th - Thursday Night Football
Steelers(6-5-1) at Vikings(5-7)
Just like a week ago, Minnesota’s defense will again fail them in the end. Once again, Pittsburgh finds a way. Pittsburgh wins 24-21.
Sunday, December 12th - Early Games
Cowboys(8-4) at Washington FT(6-6)
Washington’s offense will have a monster game against the Dallas defense. The Washington pass-catching weapons will have their way with Dan Quinn’s defense early and often. Dallas’ receivers won't be able to get any traction against the Washington defense either. This one will get ugly, as Washington pulls within a game of the division lead. Washington wins 34-10.
Pick: Washington FT
Jaguars(2-10) at Titans(8-4)
Tennessee will not fall victim to the Jags the way they did to Houston. Tennessee wins 34-20.
Seahawks(4-8) at Texans(2-10)
Russell Wilson will make the plays late to give Seattle the victory. Seattle wins 32-29.
Raiders(6-6) at Chiefs(8-4)
Patrick Mahomes is back to world-beater mode, that's no surprise, but the surprise will be how good the once-putrid Chiefs defense will play against the Vegas passing attack. Kansas City wins 39-21.
Falcons(5-7) at Panthers(5-7)
Matt Ryan and the Atlanta passing attack will get the best of the Carolina defense. Atlanta wins 20-17.
Ravens(8-4) at Browns(6-6)
The Baltimore defense will be the difference in this one, as the Ravens look to rebound from their crushing missed two-point opportunity in Pittsburgh last week. Baltimore wins 34-20.
Saints(5-7) at Jets(3-9)
Alvin Kamara may be back in action, but out are Mark Ingram, Deonte Harris, and Cam Jordan. Taysom Hill’s finger is busted and his options outside of running for daylight are simply dreadful. Although the Jets field the NFL’s worst defense, they haven't faced an offense this deteriorated and weaponless yet this season. With this Saints offense, even the horrific Jets defense will look not only competent, but actually good.
Zach Wilson will simply be another in a sad procession of rookie quarterbacks who have career days against Payton’s Saints. The Saints season may have truly hit rock bottom over the past two Thursday nights, but this loss will stand as a symbolic reminder of the team’s offensive futility, thanks to the apocalyptic rash of injuries this team has been ravaged with this season. It would feel great to say the Saints get back in the win column this week, against a team they should beat, but there really isn't a team out there this offense can take advantage of, even the worst defense in football, unfortunately. Jets win 27-16.
Sunday, December 12th - Late Games
Giants(4-8) at Chargers(7-5)
Justin Herbert will follow-up last week’s huge performance with another one here. Los Angeles wins 32-17.
Lions(1-10-1) at Broncos(6-6)
Denver is coming off a very disappointing loss last week, while Detroit is coming off their first win of the season. Denver will rebound at home, thanks to their defense, keeping the Lions from enjoying consecutive wins. Denver wins 26-14.
49ers(6-6) at Bengals(7-5)
Both teams are coning off of very disappointing losses a week ago, but it will be San Francisco’s defense that bounces back best in this one. San Francisco wins 28-21.
Bills(7-5) at Buccaneers(9-3)
Buffalo’s playoff seeding freefall catches speed in this absolutely ugly loss at Tampa. Brady and company cruise to victory at home. Tampa wins 27-14.
Sunday Night Football
Bears(4-8) at Packers(9-3)
This game is days away and it’s already over. Green Bay wins 33-16.
Monday, December 13th - Monday Night Football
Rams(8-4) at Cardinals(10-2) - Game of the Week
Arizona’s defensive ability to shut down the Rams’ running game and force Matthew Stafford’s offense to be one-dimensional will be key to a massive Cardinals victory at home in what will most certainly feel like a playoff atmosphere on Monday Night. Arizona wins 28-21.
There it is, Week 14 of the NFL season. I certainly hope to be wrong about the outcome of the Saints game this week. Leave us your picks, comments, and insight below!