Despite losing two of their last three games, the New Orleans Saints still are in control of the tight NFC South title race. The Saints will try to maintain their upper hand and get back on track when they host the New York Jets on Sunday.
The Saints remain in control of their own destiny in the NFC South despite last week’s 20-17 loss at Atlanta. New Orleans is tied with Carolina atop the division but owns the tiebreaker as it swept the season series. “I live by the motto, ‘You can only worry about the things you can control,’” Saints quarterback Drew Brees told reporters. “What we can control is right in front of us. If we keep winning, then all of our hopes and dreams are alive.” The Jets’ offense tanked last week without injured quarterback Josh McCown, as Bryce Petty completed just 2-of-9 passes for 14 yards in a 23-0 loss at Denver.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Saints -16. O/U: 47.5
ABOUT THE JETS (5-8): McCown’s season-ending injury torpedoed an offense that had been playing fairly well and posted a season-high 488 total yards in a 38-31 win over Kansas City in Week 13. The Jets managed only 100 total yards against the Broncos, and the pitiful showing overshadowed a solid defensive effort. New York has held three of its last four opponents under 300 total yards but lost all three of those games.
ABOUT THE SAINTS (9-4): New Orleans boasts the league’s top offense, but the team is far more balanced than in past years. A big part of the struggles against Atlanta was the club’s inability to get the running game going, especially after dynamic rookie Alvin Kamara left with a concussion. The defense has struggled to stop the run at times and gave up 132 yards on the ground against the Falcons, but it should be able to load the box to stop the run and force Petty to try to beat a solid secondary.
1. Brees has passed for 1,216 yards with five touchdowns and one interception in his last four home contests.
2. The Jets have not forced a turnover in their last three games after recording at least one takeaway in nine of their first 10 contests.
3. Kamara has been a full participant in practice this week and is expected to be active against New York.
PREDICTION: Saints 27, Jets 10