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Monday Night Football: Patriots at Saints

Planning a Super Bowl party this year? You might want to use this week’s Monday Night Football matchup as a good opportunity for a trial run, as we could be watching a Super Bowl preview.

The Saints (10-0) are in the midst of the best season in franchise history and the Pats, short of a fourth quarter choke at Indianapolis two weeks ago, seem poised to challenge for another title in February.

The offensive explosiveness possessed by each team has forced sportsbook to post a total of 56.5 and still the sports betting public is wagering on the “Over”, as many sportsbooks are reporting heavy action on the high side.

New Orleans averages 420 yards per game and 36.9 points. It’s down from their record breaking average of 39-plus points per game the team rode until Week 7 but still more than five points greater than the second place Minnesota Vikings.

New England ranks second in average yardage per game at 416 and with the best one-two wide receiver combinations in the league, the Pats can stretch the field against the greatest of defenses. Wes Welker had a super game against the Jets last week catching 15 balls for 192 yards. Welker makes blitzing Brady a real challenge for teams. His short underneath game sets up the long ball for Randy Moss. Moss is pretty much impossible to cover one-on-one and when he gets the double team, it usually creates a mismatch for Welker.

The Saints receiving corps is almost as impressive with Marques Coltson, Devery Henderson, Jeremy Shockey and Robert Meachem. Speaking of matchup problems, these four receivers will present some for the Patriots secondary. The Saints are hoping Reggie Bush can go coming off a knee injury. The early reports have him playing and if he is ready he can be a difference-maker, but usually plays a secondary role in the offense most games (ain’t that right Fantasy players).

This is a great coaching matchup with maybe the two brightest coaches in the game matching wits for the first time. Sean Payton is as creative an offensive coach as Belichick is a defensive strategist. Don’t expect Belichick to go for a 4th and short deep in his own end in this game but expect some interesting wrinkles from both coaches.

And of course the field generals need no introduction, with Tom Brady and Drew Brees probably guaranteeing this game gets the highest ratings of the regular season. Brady has more experience in winning the big game but the Saints have been charging hard all year and not one team has been able to top Brees’s offense to date.

Both teams have consistent, not spectacular, run games and while each squad has shown vulnerabilities on defense this year we have to expect them to bring their A-game to the dome on Monday Night.

Should be a great game. Good luck with your bets.

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