Saints vs Patriots Week 3 Picks and Predictions: Which NOLA Team Marches Into Foxboro?

After a Week 1 laugher, the Saints were punked by Carolina in an ugly Week 2 loss. So which NOLA team shows up to visit New England in Week 3? We're not entirely sure — but we are sure that the Patriots (and their strong defense) will be ready to roll.

Last Updated: Sep 26, 2021 6:00 AM ET Read Time: 5 min
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By now, the New Orleans Saints must have this travel thing fine-tuned to George Clooney “Up In The Air” levels. The Saints are playing their third straight game away from home when they visit New England this Sunday.

The NFL betting odds have New Orleans as a 3-point road underdog, coming off a one-sided loss at Carolina last weekend — a stark contrast to its 38-3 Week 1 victory over Green Bay (in Jacksonville, after being displaced due to Hurricane Ida).

Here are our free NFL picks and predictions for Saints vs. Patriots on Sunday, September 26.

Saints vs Patriots odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

This point spread opened New England -3 (EVEN) and has stayed steady at the field goal with the vig going up and down early in the week. The total for this non-conference clash hit the board at 43 points and dipped to 41.5 at the time of writing. Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

Saints vs Patriots picks

Picks made on 9/21/2021 at 12:24 p.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Saints vs Patriots game info

Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
Date: Sunday, September 26, 2021
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

Saints at Patriots betting preview


Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our NFL weather info.

Key injuries

Saints: Erik McCoy C (Out), Desmond Trufant CB (Out).
Patriots: Trent Brown OT (Out), Ronnie Perkins LB (Out), Quinn Nordin K (Out), Rhamondre Stevenson RB (Out).
Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Over is 4-0 in Saints’ last four games following a straight-up loss. Find more NFL betting trends for Saints vs. Patriots.

Saints vs Patriots predictions

Week 2 was a mess for Sean Payton and the Saints. On top of operating out of a makeshift base in Fort Worth, New Orleans was scrambling after a COVID-19 outbreak spread through the coaching staff and injuries plagued the defensive side of the ball. This Week 3 trip to New England won’t be much easier.

The Patriots blasted New York Jets rookie QB Zach Wilson in Week 2, getting pressure on 46 percent of his dropbacks — which led to four sacks and helped generate four interceptions. New Orleans QB Jameis Winston is no first-year passer, but the results will be the same if the Saints offensive line provides the same protection it did in Carolina.

Winston was pressured on 64 percent of his dropbacks last Sunday, sacked twice, picked off twice and the team amassed a mere 80 passing yards on 11-of-22 completions. The offense overall sputtered, picking up only 48 rushing yards on 17 attempts and just six total first downs on the day, going 2 for 11 on third-down attempts.

When measured against NOLA’s Week 1 outpouring, the loss to the Panthers has bettors wondering which Saints squad shows up Sunday? We do know, however, what Bill Belichick and the Patriots are bringing to the table — and given New Orleans’ off-field foils and daunting schedule, we’re laying the field goal with the home side.

This total is among the lowest on the Week 3 board, with two of the tougher defenses of the past decade butting heads.

New Orleans continues to slam the door on running backs, giving up just 2.8 yards per carry on the season and limiting Carolina RB Christian McCaffrey to 72 total yards on three yards per attempt last week. However, Run CMC did his damage through the air, with 65 yards on five catches — and the Patriots’ plodding offensive attack has capable pass-catchers in the backfield, such as leading receiver RB James White.

Rookie QB Mac Jones has been on a short leash in terms of passing. Some of that is on him, some of it is on a conservative playbook from Josh McDaniels, and some of it is on a lack of protection to allow bigger plays to develop.

New Orleans couldn’t get consistent pressure on Panthers QB Sam Darnold in Week 2 and got torched for 305 yards through the air. Jones told the media he can’t be timid about taking longer shots and with this being the third game-speed go-around for New England’s first-year QB, expect improvements — which shouldn’t be too hard considering he averaged only 4.6 air yards per completion in Week 2.

This Over/Under and the line movement downwards is a bit of an overreaction to the lack of offense from NOLA last weekend. The team was without many offensive coaches all week and ripe for a decline in production after blowing the doors off the Packers in Week 1.

New England’s early defensive numbers are a bit puffed up, as the level of offensive competition has been below board. And even with a slew of takeaways versus the Jets, the Patriots allowed 336 yards of offense to New York — getting outgained by 76 yards on the day.

While the Pats do a great job protecting against the deep ball, the Saints can shorten things and get RB Alvin Kamara going after he was MIA in Carolina last Sunday. New England has been bullied on the ground through two games, sitting 23rd in Run Defense DVOA at Football Outsiders with a run-stop win rate of 29 percent (22nd) in 2021.

Kamara had just 12 touches of the football in Week 2’s loss to Carolina — eight carries, four catches — adding up to only 30 total yards of offense. He was also held out of the end zone for just the third time in his last dozen games going back to 2020.

With the Pats dialing up the pressure on Winston, Kamara is the relief valve in the passing game, and he can also get traction against a New England defense that gave up 152 rushing yards on 31 carries — almost five yards per run — to the Jets last week.

This offense will try to get Kamara going early, bouncing back from a career-worst performance with a touchdown in Week 3.

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