This Monday night game between Washington and the New Orleans Saints is quickly approaching and it seems that most people are on Washington with the line moving down from 6.5 to 6. Washington won their last game in week 3 against the Packers, and are coming off a bye after that game. The Saints are coming off a win in New York against the Giants. In that game the Saints rushed for 170 yards gaining 5.3 yards per carry against the Giants 29th ranked rush defense. Washington is ranked dead last in rushing defense and I think the Saints will be looking to take advantage of that weakness once again this week. The Saints will be also getting Mark Ingram back to help an already great running attack with Alvin Kamara. Although Washington’s defense is better overall than the Giants they have faced the easiest schedule of offenses so far. This week they go up against a Saints offense that is ranked 3rd in overall efficiency, 6th in both rushing and passing.
Looking into Washington’s last two games you see two different teams against the Packers and the Colts. Against the Colts they lost 21-9 and against the Packers they won 31-17. When they played the Packers it also rained before the game which was a huge advantage against a team that tries to play faster than you. The Packers were unable to generate any sacks or stop the Redskins rushing attack in that game also. This will not be an issue for the Saints defense tonight inside the Superdome. They are currently ranked first overall in stopping the run and that bodes well tonight against a Washington team that did not do well in their lone loss against the Colts where they only ran for 65 yards on 22 carries. Alex Smith has historically done well when the teams he is playing on can establish the run. If they are unable to establish the run his skills as a passer diminish because he is unable to find open receivers downfield. Thats why even though they are ranked last in pass defense the Saints defense should be able to stop Washington early and allow their offense to get out to an early lead.
One thing a lot of people are also pointing to is the close shootout these two teams had last year. I think that had more to do with the spot than Washington being a better team. I also think that familiarity favors Sean Payton in the coaching matchup against Jay Gruden. The Saints have seen much more talented offenses so far than they will see tonight against Washington. They will be looking to make a statement at home. I see them getting back to the power running team they were last year. I think this game is going to be won in the trenches where New Orleans will be able to run the ball and stop the run. This will help them get out to an early lead and force the game into Alex Smith’s hands. I like the Saints defense that has been rightfully criticized to step up at home. The Saints special teams is also ranked higher than a struggling Washington unit. I like the Saints at home on Monday night and I like them to start quick so I’m taking the first half too.
Saints -3.5 1H