The term ‘Must Win’ is a close second behind the ‘L-Word’ around our office but the New Orleans Saints have a chance tonight to bury the Chicago Bears for good and keep their playoff hopes alive in the NFC DD (Disappointment Division)
Its football weather in Chicago but for the fourth straight season the Bears are booking their seats on the sidelines of the NFL playoffs. Marc Trestman’s storied career in the CFL has not translated into success south of the border and as the season winds down there is growing concern the players may start bringing less than a hundred percent effort to the table. Tonight’s game offers a big stage for Chicago to prove all the naysayers wrong but this game means a lot to the visiting Saints and by our estimates, New Orleans is the play.
WEEK 15 MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
A good offense will often compliment a good defense in the NFL and vice versa, helping ‘pick each other up’ from a bad play or drive and make each other stronger in the process. For years, the Saints defense has been a huge benefactor from one of the league’s most potent attacks and crossing out the 2012 Bountygate season; the combination of the two generated a 58-16 straight-up record from 2009 to 2013.
This year New Orleans started off 4-4 SU and three of the losses were by margins of three points or less. A three-game homestand beginning Week 10 was being viewed as a potential springboard for the Saints offense to kick it on down into overdrive but a fourth quarter meltdown against the Niners was followed by a sloppy 27-10 loss to the Bengals. Baltimore completed the sweep and then the Saints flickered success in Pittsburgh but no one could have predicted the fallout last week against Carolina.
MISSED BY A MILE
There is a system “live” on this game that applied to Dallas in Week 14 following their blowout loss to the Eagles. Road teams who are coming off a loss by more than 24 points against the spread the previous week have been a 62-percent play ATS since 2002 with more than a hundred plays (66-41-3 ATS).
12-4 ATS is the latest run for these road faves of any number
10-3 ATS is the record for road faves up to -3 points
Five of six road faves since 2012 scored 30-plus points (5-1 SU/ATS and 5-1 O/U)
Four of those five winners had missed their DPS by more than 13 points, like the Saints this week
There was a funny comment during Sunday’s telecast between the Steelers and Falcons that the winner of the NFC South was guaranteed a home playoff date while the other three teams would earn a top five pick in next year’s draft. It’s funny because it’s true and while we think Carolina has the better setup, with Cleveland and Atlanta to finish, New Orleans can put itself into a great position with a win here tonight. Non-divisional conference road faves have been a strong play late in the season, hitting 69-percent ATS in this exact situation and we’re backing the road fave to get the job done against the league’s 27th ranked defense.
PICK SIXTY SPORTS PREDICTION: Saints by 10