Hey, remember the last time the Patriots and Saints faced off?
Nope. Can’t seem to recall.
This week’s picks:
New Orleans Times-Picayune staff: Three out of five pick New England.
Zuri Berry, Boston.com: Saints. “This may come down to another defensive effort, but it won’t be the Patriots’ defense that fans in New England should be concerned about. The Saints hold opponents to 14.6 points per game, fourth best in the NFL, and have a passing defense that holds opponents to 221.8 yards per game, good for 12th in the league. Rob Ryan, the defensive coordinator for the Saints and former Patriots linebacker coach, has certainly made a difference here. With the Patriots offense struggling (19.0 points per game, 227.0 pass yards per game), it’s hard to see them coming out winners here, even at home. ”
Globe staff: Four out of five pick New Orleans (New England by 2 ﾽ).
Don Banks, Sports Illustrated: Patriots 30, Saints 27. “If the Saints can get this one in the win column, their run at a perfect season might have some legs. New Orleans takes its bye in Week 7 and then faces a slate of three home games in the coming four weeks, with only a trip to the Jets to break up that run. But the Patriots offense should get a lift from the return of tight end Rob Gronkowski this week (finally!), and you don’t often see Tom Brady and Bill Belichick stand up and artfully dodge their way through the post-game explanation of two losses in a row.”
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports.com: Patriots 29, Saints 26. “The Patriots did nothing on offense last week against the Bengals. They now must face an improved Saints defense. But New Orleans is playing a second consecutive road game outside the division. And Tom Brady doesn’t get held down two weeks in a row. Patriots get back on track in a fun, high-scoring game.”
CBS Sports.com staff: Five out of eight pick the Saints.
Greg Cote, Miami Herald: Patriots 28, Saints 24. “Not a lot of matchups fill an NFL marquee better than two teams thinking Super Bowl, Drew Brees vs. Tom Brady, Sean Payton vs. Bill Belichick and the possible long-awaited season debut of Pats TE Rob Gronkowski. Saints a very fashionable upset pick; I get that. But I’m done overanalyzing as I try to hoist myself out of the deep well I’ve fallen into with my recent Friday Page slump. Time to rely on instincts again and on my ample gut, and those things tell me Pats will bounce back big from last week’s offensive fizzle in Cincy. Homies have won 32 of past 35 in the Foxborough foxhole, and Brady (0-3 vs. Brees) is due to one-up his fellow Canton-bound quarterback. I’ll feel a lot better about this pick, admittedly, if Gronkowski plays and gives Brady the same weapon Brees has in Jimmy Graham. Perhaps the football gods would consider my recent won-lost record and benevolently grant me that. (Please?)
USA Today staff: Six out of seven pick New Orleans.
Yahoo! sports staff: All Saints.
Peter Schrager, Foxsports.com: Saints 31, Patriots 27. “What to make of the Patriots? They won their first four games and everyone was singing their praises after the win in Atlanta, but who’d they beat? A Bills team with a rookie QB making his first start, a Jets team with a rookie QB making his first road start, the Buccaneers in the midst of Josh Freeman-gate, and a Falcons team that dropped one to the Jets the following week. I’ve never been less “sold” on a 4-1 team in NFL history. Give me the Saints in one of those “statement” games everyone loves.”
Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk.com: Saints 27, Patriots 21. “The Saints proved that they can win away from home against a competent team like the Bears. With an elite offense and a much-improved defense, why not a clean road sweep of the Super Bowl XX teams that played in New Orleans.”
Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk.com: Saints 31, Patriots 21. “The best game of the week is in New England, where the Patriots need Rob Gronkowski to return against a surprisingly tough Saints defense. Even if Gronk is at full speed, however, I think Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham are a better pair right now than Tom Brady and Gronkowski, and I like the Saints to put up a lot of points.”
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Saints 27, Patriots 20. “Payton’s moxie and aggressiveness is suited for these types of games. To beat the Patriots, you’ve got to punch; not counterpunch. Jim Harbaugh and Tom Coughlin have done that in the NFC, and Payton is better at it than both.”
It says here: Patriots 24, Saints 14. Just a hunch that Brady is going to have a monster game and the defense shines. Gronk or no Gronk, Pats grab a huge win.