Sunday, November 3, 2013

Week 9 picks: Saints at Jets

Publisher Nick St. Denis, associate editor Dan Begnoche and senior contributor Sean Donovan pick the cross-conference matchup between the New York Jets and New Orleans Saints.

Nick's take:
Jets coach Rex Ryan's brother, Rob, has turned the NFL's historically-bad defense of last year into one of the league's top units in 2013. The Saints are disciplined, creatively aggressive, can force turnovers and are good on third down. New York could use a productive day of ground-and-pound to soften up New Orleans' defense and keep Drew Brees off the field. Brees should have a field day on the other side of the ball unless Gang Green's secondary makes a miraculous turnaround.
Prediction: Saints 27, Jets 17

Sean's take:
It'll take an exceptional performance by the Jets, particularly on defense, to maintain their season-long trend of alternating wins and losses. Drew Brees and the Saints' offense masterfully exploits matchups and tests the coverage abilities of the safeties and linebackers, not exactly a strength of Gang Green's defensive unit. Geno Smith has a solid game against Rob Ryan's defense, but brother Rex fails to muster enough to beat one of the league's elite teams.
Prediction: Saints 31, Jets 21

Dan's take:
Consistency has been a struggle for Gang Green, which is not an optimal trait against such a consistent offensive threat in Brees. Smith struggles to keep up with the New Orleans high-powered passing game, and the transformed Saints defense and its NFC-leading sack attack gives the rookie plenty of trouble, particularly with the return of former teammate Jonathan Vilma. The plus-8 turnover rate of the Saints squad will come into play early, with New York's offense averaging a little more than two a game. 
Prediction: Saints 32, Jets 17