New England Patriots @ New Orleans Saints: Brady to outgun Brees in points-fest

A Giant Among Men: Rob Gronkowski is set for a big performance
A Giant Among Men: Rob Gronkowski is set for a big performance

Both the Saints and Patriots lost their opening games. But will reigning champs New England stumble again in Week Two? Neil Harvey is sure they won't and explains why...


"This could be an all you can eat buffet for the quarterbacks. A chance for Brady and Brees to show they are still among the very best in the business. Get on the points train and ride it all the way"

New England Patriots @ New Orleans Saints
Start time - 18:00 BST
TV coverage - Live on Sky Sports


Stay loyal to Patriots


No messing around here. I'm calling a New England win by 1-13 points straight off the bat - available at almost even money on the Sportsbook. Now that might seem impetuous, even foolish, to many. But my belief is that this Saints team is a lame duck, and the last opponent it needs right now is a smarting Patriots side.

I explained in detail why I thought Minnesota would do for the Saints last week, and they duly obliged. The New Orleans defense continues to be very, very poor and it should get repeatedly exposed by the Patriots. Last week, Tom Brady had one of his rare off days in a surprising loss to Kansas. And yet he still threw for 267 yards with no interceptions, hardly a horror show. 

He should make mincemeat though of a Saints secondary that allowed Sam Bradford 346 yards and three TDs on Monday. Bradford had time on the ball to get outside the pocket, run around a bit, and pick his receivers. If Tom Brady is given that kind of time and space, he's a far better runner than Bradford and can wreak havoc on the Saints.


Big performance from the big man


The Saints sound scared already, warning about how they mustn't let former receiver Brandin Cooks hurt them deep in what's his homecoming game. They should be more scared though about man-mountain Rob Gronkowski. A rusty looking Gronk was Brady's early red zone target against Kansas. He's certain to get looks in the end zone again and can punish a secondary that just surrendered two scores to high passes, to a player 15 centimetres shorter than Gronk - Stefon Diggs.

At 7-0 up and stood at the Kansas one yard line, New England looked to be home and hosed in the first quarter last week. But what seemed to be mass complacency set in, combined with a very poor defensive display. Head coach Bill Belichick won't allow such complacency to happen again. Over his dead body.


Saints to go down fighting


New England's defensive issues will take time to fix though, and are the reason I think the Pats won't retain the Vince Lombardi trophy. Just watch what Drew Brees does to them this week. Brees has a reduced receiving corps. And even he can't overcome the deficiencies of his team's dreadful defense. But he's still a one man wrecking machine given time in the pocket. He should surpass 300 yards with ease here and could even push close to 400.

Last week, the raw pace of Tyreek Hill hurt New England. And the Saints have their own speedster in the form of Ted Ginn. He's older in the tooth and new to the team, but a deep ball on the post route is one of the oldest and simplest tricks in the book and this is where Ginn could do damage.


Game Picks


This could be an all you can eat buffet for the quarterbacks. A chance for Brady and Brees to show they are still among the very best in the business. Get on the points train and ride it all the way. I'm expecting scores both early and late here, with Gronkowski and Ginn among those to hit paydirt.  Brandin Cooks can also pick up a lot of receptions. He should do enough damage to help his new Patriots team over the winning line.

I'm confident the Patriots will win this. But it could be a dramtic ride. Hence, there's a big price to be had with the Saints to lead at the break, only for Brady to mastermind another thrilling comeback. This could be the game of the week in terms of excitement. Miss it at your peril!


Recommended Bets:

5pts Total Points Over 55.5 @ 1.981/1
1pt Half Time-New Orleans/Full Time-New England @ 8.07/1 or better
3pts New England to win by 1-13 pts @ 5/6 (Sportsbook)
2pts Brady passing yards Over 311.5 @ 1.9620/21
2pts Brees passing yards Over 313.5 @ 1.9620/21
2pt Ginn to score anytime TD @ 3.02/1
1pt Ted Ginn to score 1st TD @ 15.014/1
2pts Gronkowski anytime TD + Pats win @ [EVENS] (Sportsbook)
2pts Cooks receiving yards Over 83.5 @ 1.9620/21


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