Free NFL Pick: New Orleans at Cincinnati 12-05-2010

December 4, 2010

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New Orleans Saints at Cincinnati Bengals

Sunday December 5th, 2010 1:00 PM EST

Line: New Orleans -7

Overview:

After a remarkable year last year, the 2-9 Bengals could be looking at the number one pick in the draft next year. Their upcoming schedule is brutal and their eight game losing streak is the longest in the NFL. Their quarterback play and defense have been shaky at best all season long. After this season is over, the Bengals need a complete restructure of their franchise, starting at the top.

The Saints, on the other hand, are one of the the best teams in the league, once again. They might not be having the season they had last year when they won the Super Bowl, but with the NFL as wide open as it is the 8-3 Saints can feel confident about their chances at repeating. They are currently in second place, behind the 9-2 Falcons with the 7-4 Bucs closely trailing.

Keys to the Game:

  • The Bengals are in complete disarray on defense. Since week 4, they have given up 22 points or more in every single game. Giving up 49 to the Buffalo Bills is unacceptable and the Bengals cannot expect to have another year like 2009 with poor defensive play. Cincinnati has been a place where players with character issues have been given a second chance. Now that the team is losing, it seems as though a wave of indifference is sweeping through Cincinnati.
  • People are too hard on Reggie Bush. His return after injury turned out to be a disaster last week when he fumbled the ball on one of two touches he had all game. Look for Bush to bounce back this week.Some Saints fans believe their team is better off without Bush, but nothing could be further from the truth. Perhaps Bush isn’t putting up jaw dropping numbers, but he is a key part of the Saints offense. Teams never lose sight of where Bush is on the football field. He is an elite return man and one of if not the best route running running back. Bush has a chance to let Saints fans know how important he can be to New Orleans and he won’t disappoint.
  • It’s time for the Bengals to transition away from Carson Palmer. Palmer has had a wonderful career with the Bengals, but it appears as though it is time for the team to explore other options. After having a horrendous season, it appeared Palmer could not look any worse. After back to back to back multiple interception games, Palmer is struggling more than ever. The Bengals scored the last time they took a quarterback number one overall. If the Bengals end with a worse record than Carolina, they should make a play for Andrew Luck and salvage whatever value they can get out of Palmer.
  • Drew Brees has carried the Saints through their injuries. When both running backs went down, the Saints quickly found out they relied on their running game more than the general public originally believed. Brees has shared the ball this season, tossing touchdowns to nine targets this season. Brees has whethered the storm with both of his running backs appearing to be shaking the injuries they sustained earlier in the season. They face the Buccaneers and the Falcons and a win in either one of those games will probably mean the playoffs are locked up for the Saints.
  • The Saints are great against the pass, but it is their run defense that is going to set them apart in this matchup. If the Bengals can’t run the ball, they aren’t going to win. Chad Ocho Cinco and Terrell Owens can put up ridiculous numbers, but failing to move the ball on the ground will make for another disappointing day for the Bengals. With Sedrick Ellis and Jonathan Vilma anchoring the Saints run defense, Cedric Benson is going to have problems finding running lanes.

Key Matchup:

Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer Vs. Terrell Owens and Chad Ocho Cinco

  • Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer will obviously get help when covering the Bengals receiving tandem. The Bengals are struggling, but their receivers are doing just fine. A lot is being made¬† of Chad Ocho Cinco’s struggles, but a closer look paints a different picture. Ocho Cinco ranks 21st in the league in receptions, but he is constantly double teamed, allowing for T.O. to break free in single coverage. Both receivers are impossible to watch at all times. Teams can pick their poison, but stopping both receivers is impossible.
  • Greer and Porter have to get a jam on Ocho Cinco and Owens. The safeties will be over the top to help, but giving either receiver a free release makes it difficult for the safeties to keep everything in front of them. While the receivers having a huge day might not spell victory, it could mean the Bengals are going to cover.

Wrap Up:

The Bengals have lost eight in a row. Four of them have come by seven or more. The Saints are one of the best teams they have seen all season. The Saints give up just under 18 points a game, while the Bengals give up just over 26. Considering that the Saints score more -along with the hopelessness of the Bengals franchise- a big loss seems inevitable.

Free NFL Pick: New Orleans -7


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