Packers at Saints

NEW ORLEANS IN DANGER OF FALLING TO 2-5 WITH HUGE HOME GAME VS. GREEN BAY SUNDAY NITE

It’s Week 8 of the 2014 NFL season, and the projected league power New Orleans Saints haven’t played a good game yet! Maybe they were due to explode when their bye happened to fall. But, thus far, there hasn’t been a single game where they looked like vintage New Orleans...where you could see that a Super Bowl win was a possibility...where they deserved to be up high in computer ratings or Power Ratings.

A quick review:

Atlanta: lost to what’s turned out to be a bad team
Cleveland: lost to what’s probably a non-playoff team
Minnesota: won 20-9 against a non-playoff team with an outmanned quarterback
Dallas: got obliterated by the Cowboys, totally outclassed through the evening
Tampa Bay: had to go overtime to beat one of the league’s worst teams
Detroit: blew a late lead with a Brees mistake, which never used to happen!

The two games they covered (Minnesota and Detroit) came by a point and a half a point. The biggest scoreboard victory came when they only scored 20 vs. the Vikings. This isn’t New Orleans Saints football. This isn’t even “inconsistent” New Orleans Saints football where they match fantastic home results with disappointments on the road. It’s all one big grind.

And now THE GREEN BAY PACKERS come to town! Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats are saying about the chances New Orleans will fall to 2-5.

Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Green Bay: 5-2 (ranked #19 in USA Today)
New Orleans: 2-4 (ranked #25 in USA Today)

It just got worse! New Orleans isn’t playing impressive football against one of the weakest schedules in the league. Give them a league average schedule and they might be 1-5. Green Bay has played close to a league average schedule, and has certainly been getting results recently. A slow start was followed by a four-game win streak they carry into Sunday Night’s game.

Yards-Per-Play
Green Bay: 5.6 on offense, 5.2 on defense
New Orleans: 6.3 on offense, 5.9 on defense

Here’s some good news for the Saints. They have the same YPP differential as the Packers at +0.4. That tells you they’ve been playing better than the 2-4 record would have suggested. They have been competitive most weeks except for the loss at Dallas. Clear concerns remain on defense though. It’s very hard to be a contender these days if you can’t stop people, particularly if you’re asking your defense to keep opponents away from the goal line on the game’s final drive.

Turnover Differential
Green Bay: +10
New Orleans: -7

Wow...that’s a huge differential for this early in the season...and it’s probably the category that best captures what’s gone wrong in the Big Easy. The defense isn’t forcing mistakes while letting teams run through them. That’s putting pressure on Brees to force things at bad times. This is what New Orleans used to do to opponents! Great sign for the Packers that this category is clicking so well. Rodgers is scaring opponents, and the defense is taking advantage of miscues when those opponents try to stay in the game or play catch up.

Market Performance
Green Bay: 4-2-1 ATS
New Orleans: 2-4 ATS

No surprises there based on the information we’ve read so far. The market has overrated the Saints for the most part (though many games have been within striking distance of the number). Green Bay has been underrated because that slow start tricked oddsmakers and bettors into thinking there were problems.

Current Line: New Orleans by 2, total of 55.5

Home field is worth three points (it used to be more in New Orleans). So, the market confirms Green Bay as the better team. They would be favored by at least 1 on a neutral field, and at least four at home (more in bad weather).

The stats make it very clear that New Orleans will have to fix its turnover problems before being taken seriously as a contender again. And, that defense?! This just isn’t a quality team right now. But, they have the good fortune of playing in the worst NFL division right now. Tampa Bay is early in a rebuilding process. Atlanta is late in a falling apart process. Carolina is dealing with injuries and transitions to new personnel. If the Saints can win here and move to 3-4, they could easily still be playing in January. It may only take 8-8 to win the NFC South!

JIM HURLEY loves this side & total and it's his NFC Sunday Night Game of the Year. You can purchase the final word for all of Sunday’s NFL right here at the website with your credit card in the morning before kickoff. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.

Back with you tomorrow to preview Washington at Dallas on Monday Night Football. A busy multi-sport week follows!

Will the Saints go marching to victory Sunday Night? JIM HURLEY and his clients will go marching into Vegas sportsbooks to GET ALL THE MONEY Sunday and every day because PICKING WINNERS is THE BIG EASY with NETWORK’S exclusive TEAM HANDICAPPING approach!

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