No Drew Brees, No Problem For The Saints

Thanks to their stellar defense, New Orleans has gone undefeated without their future Hall of Fame quarterback

Keith Allison, Flickr

  • The Saints are 13-4 SU in their last 17 matchups versus NFC opponents.

  • New Orleans opened as a road underdog (once again) against the Chicago Bears in Week 7.

Another Week, Another Win

The New Orleans Saints secured a road victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, improving to 5-1 after enjoying four consecutive wins. While the Saints opened as a slight favorite, the line shifted and the Saints were 2.5-point underdogs at the time of kick off at TIAA Bank Field. BetQL’s NFL Model gave New Orleans a  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ rating in Week 6 and savvy bettors capitalized with the outcome.

The affair turned out to be the defensive battle many expected it to be, with five punts from Thomas Morstead in the first quarter. Punter Logan Cooke returned the favor with four punts in the second quarter, and both teams had a field goal apiece at the end of the first half. Will Lutz was able to convert a 47-yard field goal and Josh Lambo had a 22-yard field goal for the Jaguars. 

The Saints started the top of the third quarter having to defend the ball and cornerback Marshon Lattimore intercepted a deep pass from quarterback Gardner Minshew that was intended for DJ Chark. The Saints did score a touchdown that was called back after a holding penalty on wide receiver Mike Thomas, but Lutz was able to improve the score to 6-3 Saints with a 21-yard field goal. 

Defensive end Cameron Jordan had two sacks during the matchup, one of which led to 35-yard field goal for Josh Lambo in the third. It was in the fourth quarter that a four-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to tight end Jared Cook sealed the game for the Saints and brought the score to 13-6. The Saints’ defense showed up in Week 6, and the matchup impressively marked the 32nd consecutive game in which New Orleans didn't allow a 100-yard rusher.

BetQL’s NFL Model listed the Saints (+2.5) as a ★★★★★ bet in Week 6! They were one of three ★★★★ (or better) road underdogs from the algorithm that won! 

No Brees, No Problem 

The Saints have been able to remain undefeated in the four weeks since Bridgewater stepped in for the injured Drew Brees. Without Brees at center, offensive production has taken a huge hit overall. Versus the Jaguars, New Orleans only converted 5-of-13 third downs (38 percent) and the offense was successful getting the ball into the end zone in only one of three red zone attempts.

Meanwhile, the defense has taken pressure off the offense the last few games, limiting Jacksonville to 226 total yards, Tampa Bay to 252 yards and Dallas to 257 yards. Lattimore was able to hold Jags’ breakout wide receiver DJ Chark to 43 yards on three catches. He came into the game as one of the hottest wideouts in the sport. Cameron Jordan put pressure on Minshew all game long and recorded a couple sacks. New Orleans’ defense has been dominant and has stepped up in Brees' absence, allowing 16.8 points per game in that span.

After Sunday’s performance, the Saints became one of the four teams this season that have been able to hold an opponent to 10 points or fewer in multiple matchups. New Orleans joins the ranks of the New England Patriots (three), Chicago Bears (two), and San Francisco 49ers (two). That’s good company to have.

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Looking Ahead

The Saints (+3) opened as road underdogs once again ahead of their Week 7 matchup at Soldier Field against the Bears (3-2). The two teams last met in 2017 and the Saints won the matchup 20-12. Bridgewater will still be filling in for Brees and he’s done a solid job, posting 1,089 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions for a 98.4 rating on the season. 

Quarterback Mitch Trubisky should be back for the Bears on Sunday after recovering from a shoulder injury sustained going against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4. Trubisky has totaled 588 yards and a 3:2 touchdown to interception ratio for a 81.0 rating. If not healthy, there could be a matchup of two replacements under center with Chase Daniel in Trubisky’s place. 

This will be a matchup of two elite defenses, with Chicago’s group spearheaded by Khalil Mack (5.5 sacks on the season) and Nick Williams (4.5 sacks). The defense has held opposing teams to 13.8 points on average, which ranks third in the NFL. Similar to last week’s clash, the Saints-Bears matchup is expected to be a back-and-forth defensive battle with the lowest total on Sunday’s slate (38.5 points). The over, however, has hit in five of New Orleans’ last seven games on the road versus Chicago. 

The Bears might have had a week to rest and recover after a disappointing loss to the Raiders across the pond, but it’s hard to imagine that the Saints won’t be appealing to bettors, even as a road ‘dog.

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