Monday, September 28, 2009

Jets at Saints: Defense wins championships, but Saints will win this game

A superb offense collides with an airtight defense when the Jets and Saints face off this week. Both teams are 3-0, so the winner of this contest can arguably lay claim to the title of "NFL's best team."

New York Jets at New Orleans Saints

Sunday, Oct. 4 at 4:05 p.m. ET

NFL Week 4 odds: Saints -6.5

The Saints offense made waves the first two weeks of the season and most of the credit belongs to quarterback Drew Brees. However, facing a Buffalo "D" that game planned to disrupt Brees, New Orleans prevailed with a powerful running game. The Saints rolled up 222 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, led by Pierre Thomas' 14 carries for 126 yards. The newfound balance makes this unit even more imposing.

New Orleans has been slowed by a weak defense over the past few seasons, but it came through against Buffalo this weekend. The team allowed just seven points, which came on a fake field goal. The pass rush opened up against Buffalo, with four sacks and an incredible 14 hits on the quarterback. Obviously, Buffalo isn't an offensive juggernaut, but we're betting management will take any progress it can get from the Saints defense.

The Jets, on the other hand, are making their money on defense. A week after Titans running back Chris Johnson racked up 284 yards and three touchdowns on just 23 touches against Houston, New York held him to 105 total yards on 23 touches while keeping him out of the end zone. Betting fans can make a very legitimate case that, right now, New York employs the best defense in the NFL; the Jets are allowing just 11.0 points per game.

Quarterback Mark Sanchez continued his solid play in last week's win over Tennessee. He hasn't been asked to win a game for New York—he just needs to stay within the offense, minimize mistakes and occasionally come up with a big play. Running backs Thomas Jones and Leon Washington do most of the heavy lifting; the Jets are 10th in the NFL at 130 rushing yards per game.

Heading into the raucous Superdome will be a tough challenge for the young, cocky Jets. While their defense is certain to slow New Orleans, they can't shut it down, especially after the Saints proved they can pass and run the football. And considering New Orleans ratcheted up the pressure last week, young Sanchez might have a hard time adjusting to the situation. At the end of the day, keep your sports picks aligned with the team quarterbacked by the current MVP leader. Bet on Drew Brees and the Saints.


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