The New Orleans Saints (4-1) head to TIAA Bank Field this Sunday to face the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3). Instead of Drew Brees facing off against Nick Foles, it will be their backups, Teddy Bridgewater and Gardner Minshew taking center stage.
Both Bridgewater and Minshew have been pleasant surprises this season, with each quarterback taking good care of the ball while providing staunch, unwavering leadership for their respective teams. Here’s a breakdown of the game and what to expect when these two teams meet on Sunday.
New Orleans Saints:
Teddy Bridgewater is coming off a game in which he tied his career-best with four touchdown passes against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That said, he won’t have to rely solely on the pass against the Jags, as Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara will give him a solid running game. Kamara is among the league leaders in broken tackles, so look for him to be a big factor in this game.
The New Orleans defense is giving up just over 108 yards rushing per game, and they have been successful getting after the quarterback. The Saints’ secondary is their weak spot. They’re giving up 255 yards receiving along with 23 points every game. They’ll have to buckle down against the Jaguars, who have a young quarterback who can sling it.
Gardner Minshew has been excellent and one of the season’s most pleasant surprises so far. He is one of only three quarterbacks to play in the Super Bowl era to have a 100+ rating with no interceptions through his first four games. Minshew showed up on the injury report Thursday with a minor groin issue, but it shouldn’t limit him much.
The Jaguars’ defense, like the Saints, is giving up 23 points per game. It’s unclear whether or not their talented cornerback Jalen Ramsey will finally return, but if he does, look for him to make a serious impact.
Trends, Pick & Prediction
Spread: Saints (+1)
Over/Under: 43.5 points
Per Odds Shark, the Jaguars are predicted to win and cover the spread. With an over / underscore of 43.5 projected, Odds Shark is predicting a final score of 24-20, with a Jaguars victory at home.
Here are some relevant trends associated with the game courtesy of Odds Shark:
• New Orleans is 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games.
• The Saints are 16-4 SU in their last 20 games.
• New Orleans is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games against Jacksonville.
• New Orleans is 4-2 SU in their last 6 games against Jacksonville.
• Jacksonville is 4-13 SU in their last 17 games.
• The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Jacksonville’s last 6 games at home.
• The Jaguars are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games against an opponent in the NFC conference.
• Jacksonville is 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games against an opponent in the NFC South division.
This game has all the makings of a close and relatively low-scoring one. The Saints have done extremely well to go 4-1 in Drew Brees’ absence, but they won’t be playing at home, and they’ll be going up against the phenomenon that is Minshew Mania. Look for Jacksonville to squeeze out a victory against a very tough Saints team.
Pick: Jags by 3. Total: UNDER