Denver Broncos (6-3 SU, 6-3 ATS) vs. New Orleans Saints (4-4 SU, 6-2 ATS)
Week 10 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 1PM EST
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: DEN +1.5/NO -1.5
Over/Under Total: 48
The Denver Broncos come to the Superdome on Sunday to face the New Orleans Saints. Denver is looking to bounce back from a rough 30-20 loss to the Raiders on Sunday Night Football. With the AFC really top-heavy this season, they are actually in third place now at 6-3. It won't be easy in a tough cross-conference road game against a reborn Saints bunch. On Sunday, the Saints pelted San Francisco on the road, 41-23. They have now won 4 of 5 games and after starting the season 0-3, they are a team with a future in the wide-open NFC South.
Denver is an imperfect team—it's as simple as that. Their defense has held up well this season, but might not quite be the iron-clad unit it was last season. Injuries have played a role, but the bottom line is that they can be exploited. With Aqib Talib missing time and others having been out-of-action, the secondary has been readily exploitable. Center Matt Paradis was taken out of the game and the offense didn't seem the better for it. Other than Von Miller, the rest of the defense has lost a little bit in the pass-rushing department. At the same time, the Broncos had won two in a row leading up to the game in Oakland and losing to a good team like the Raiders is hardly a disgrace. But let's just say that those who pegged the Broncos as getting back to the Super Bowl after they started the season 4-0 have been silenced.
The Denver offense can be pretty lackluster. Trevor Siemian has done as well as can be expected, but is still a young QB seeing a lot of things for the first time. He is under 60% completions on the year, with his accuracy really tailing off in the past month-plus. On Sunday, they continued to struggle on the ground, with CJ Anderson missing time. Devontae Booker was held to 22 yards on ten carries. Unheard-of Kapri Bibbs caught a 69-yard throw from Siemian. Jordan Norwood also caught a TD, but Siemian isn't making a great connection with Demaryius Thomas or Emmanuel Sanders in recent weeks. At the end of the day, they are the league's 28th-ranked offense—23rd in rushing offense and 25th in aerial offense.
The top-ranked Denver passing-defense wasn't at its best on Sunday and not having Talib in there has started to show. But more alarming is the lack of robustness up-front when it comes to defending the opposing run-game. Oakland, more of an aerially-inclined team, was able to put up over 200 yards of rushing on Sunday. The defense has shined on occasion, but they're becoming less and less bankable as the season moves into the second half. Against the surging Saints' ground game, there could be problems this week.
Hats off to the Saints for getting it back together just as they were being written off after an ugly 0-3 start, It wasn't just the bad start in terms of wins and losses, but it was the lack of clutch they were showing, in addition to a defense that had trouble stopping much of anything. Now, we're seeing the defense playing a little better after getting a big boost from the offensive side of the ball, with Drew Brees and Company springing back to life. New Orleans is now back in the mix of 4-4.
On Sunday, we continued to see standout play from Drew Brees, who threw for 323 yards and three TDs without a pick. The run-game is starting to make a big impact, too. Tim Hightower has been excellent in the past two games, but Mark Ingram's 158-yard performance on Sunday was a thing of beauty. Both scored touchdowns on Sunday on the ground. Ingram scored on a 75-yard run, while also catching a TD reception. The run game has given even more teeth to a vital aerial attack. Michael Thomas continued his big rookie campaign with two TD receptions against the Niners, with Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead, and others also chipping in. There is a lot of room on this offense for a lot of different players to be productive.
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Making it come together for the Saints is the defense. They were playing at a near-slapstick level at points early in the season. With the Saints able to control clock on the offensive side of the ball, the Saints' defense is allowed to rest and isn't being hung out to dry as they were earlier this season. There are aspects of their defense which are still troublesome, namely their last-ranked passing-defense. Luckily for them, their last few games and this one coming up haven't been against the most aerially-inclined passing offenses. Still, it's far from a good defense. It really doesn't need to be great. They've been getting some timely big plays and are letting the offense take over games. They just need to not be really bad and if they can continue doing that, the Saints will continue to find themselves in a lot of games this season.
This is an important game for each team. All games are for the most part. But Denver has been on-and-off since starting the season 4-0 and would like to get back on the winning track in an AFC West division where everyone seems to be winning lately. And getting back to the .500 mark hasn't been easy for the Saints. It's taken a massive effort and they won't easily be parted with the good feeling they now have.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the New Orleans Saints minus 1.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up and betting the Broncos vs. Saints game from home at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!