SpreadKnowledge NFL Free Pick of the Day – Monday, September 9

By: Al Walsh – Follow him on  Twitter @14AdotWalsh
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[7:00 p.m. EST] Over 52.5 – Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints

The SpreadKnowledge NFL Free Pick of the Day comes to us from the Saints-Texans game that kicks off Monday Night Football’s doubleheader. We like the total going over in this one, considering we’ve got two of the most potent offenses in football going head to head.

This will be the first time New Orleans takes the field since last season’s blown-call in the NFC Championship that prohibited them from reaching the Super Bowl. It’ll be interesting to see how they rebound from that debacle, and if it could possibly affect them in a negative way.

There are plenty of expectations for the Texans in 2019, and most of it comes from the offensive side of the ball. Houston made some exciting moves right before the regular season started, getting offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills from Miami. That move for Tunsil, in particular, was a major upgrade for an O-line that allowed quarterback Deshaun Watson to get sacked over 60 times last season.

The Saints haven’t won a Week-1 game since 2013. For whatever reason, it’s usually the defense that prohibits them from victory, and they’ll have another heavy test on their hands in this one. New Orleans will be without two of its best interior pass rushers, Sheldon Rankins (injury) and David Onyematta (suspension),

Not to mention, there’s a huge mismatch between the Texans’ wide receivers and Saints’ secondary. New Orleans ranked 22nd in DVOA (Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average) against the pass last season. Marcus Lattimore was toasted by marquee wide receivers last season while, more recently, Patrick Robinson had a horrendous preseason.

In the Saints last four home openers, they have allowed 48 (TB), 36 (NE), 35 (OAK) and 26 (TB) points.

Luckily, quarterback Drew Brees, running back Alvin Kamara and wide receiver Michael Thomas are still around to put points on the scoreboard. It’s not like the Saints will get blown out, but these guys always have a chance to be in games with that trio of talent moving the ball. Since 2006, the Saints have averaged 30.1 points per game at home.

* Final Score Prediction * New Orleans Saints: 30 – Houston Texans: 27