Sadler’s premium meats are perfect for tailgating on Saturday, for grilling out at home on Sunday, or for when you are hosting a group of friends, or even just the family, on Monday night.
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Check out Sadler’s Monday Night Football Recipe of the Week: Sadler’s Smokehouse Beef Brisket and Bow-Tie Pasta
Visit the Sadler’s Smokehouse website: Sadler’s Smokehouse
Monday Night Football Preview
New England Patriots (7-3) at New Orleans Saints (10-0)
- Patriots-Saints Date: Monday, November 30th
- Patriots-Saints Kickoff Time: 8:30
- Patriots-Saints TV Network: ESPN
- Patriots-Saints Announcers: Mike Tirio, Jon Gruden, and Ron Jaworski
- Patriots-Saints Point Spread: Saints -3
- Patriots-Saints Over-Under: 56
- Patriots-Saints Spread Pick by Jerod: This game will definitely push the 56-point line and be very similar to the Week 10 matchup between the Patriots and Colts. Because the Saints are at home, I like them to win this game. But this is still a Saints team that we haven’t seen win big games yet. The Patriots are a team that we’ve seen do it time and time again, even with the loss to the Colts. When it gets right down to it, it’s really hard to pick the Saints when Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are standing on the other sideline. The Patriots failed to end the Colts’ undefeated start, but I don’t think they fail this time. Patriots-Saints free pick: Patriots +3
ESPN (and most of the media) is treating this game like it’s the Super Bowl, and for obvious reasons: these teams are a combined 17-3, New Orleans is living in perpetual post-Katrina adoration, and therefore a great story, and New England is New England. To me, as a historian, I like the British vs. French angle of these two cities/regions, but nonetheless, there are tons of real storylines.
The Saints defense is so banged up that they signed Mike McKenzie to account for that, but he hasn’t had enough time to learn Gregg Williams’ system, and given the Patriots spread-type offense, he will probably be on the field a lot. Expect the Patriots to try and expose his rustiness and inexperience.
Robert Meachem has come on as of late. He has the size and talent to be a significant piece of the Saints’ passing game, but given their plethora of options, he had yet to emerge. With three touchdowns in his last two games, the Saints may rely on him more as the year goes on, which should take pressure off of Marques Colston.
Reggie Bush, whose role is akin to Kevin Faulk on the Pats’ side, is questionable this week. His spot in the offense has declined (in terms of touches), but that has allowed the Saints to utilize him more in red zone opportunities. Limiting Bush’s touches has also maximized his explosiveness, and the Saints are clearly a more versatile and dangerous team with him on the field.
That said, with Bush out last week, the Saints ran Mike Bell out on the field, and he responded in a big way (75 yards and two touchdowns). It will be interesting to see how they use Bell this week if Bush does play, but I assume that he earned himself a more sizable role in the offense going forward.
Overall, will the Pats defense be able to do what no team has this year, and stop Drew Brees and company (37 ppg, 48 touchdowns) from putting points on the board en masse? While Brees is on pace for about 4,400 yards passing, New Orleans actually has four more rushing attempts (324) this season than passing attempts (320). Note that New England is near the bottom of the NFL in the always-important Red Zone defense.
Then again, Tom Brady will be fairly confident taking on an inexperienced New Orleans’ secondary. On the flip side, the Saints lead the league in three takeaways, defensive pass efficiency rating and, according to the Times-Picayune, “attitude adjustment” under new defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams.
Laurence Maroney was supposed to be the long term answer for the Patriots at running back when they drafted him in the first round, yet the Patriots signing of Fred Taylor in the beginning of the year indicated that the Pats were ready to abandon the original plan. Injuries forced Maroney out of the doghouse and back into action, where he’s seized the opportunity.
The biggest knock on Maroney was that he didn’t run with conviction — that he spent too much time shuffling his feet at the line of scrimmage instead of making a cut and running north to south — but Maroney, who is built like a downhill runner, seems to have finally gotten the message and has 356 yards and six scores over his last five games. With more stability in the running game, the Patriots offense will be nearly unstoppable on a weekly basis, though is that really a change from years past?
(Both teams do have significant injury concerns as well.)
The Pats probably have the best shot at ending the Saints perfect season (one some feel resembles the 2007 Patriot team’s) as any remaining squad on their ledger; but in such a raucous atmosphere, can they? New England has yet to win a true road game this year. That’s a futile stat no other AFC team can claim, and yet, because they’re the Pats, few realize it.
Though the Patriots came into Indianapolis and nearly won, I don’t see it here, and I generally trust my gut over anything. I see many reasons — some aforementioned — this sets up as a winnable game for New England, and though they may have more to prove, I think it’ll be the Saints’ night.
Saints-Patriots Pick: Saints
* – Drew Brees photo credit: The Creole Tomato
* – Tom Brady photo credit: Babble.com