Miami Dolphins (3-0) at New Orleans Saints (3-0)
The Saints have held all 3 of their opponents this season to 17 or fewer points this season, something they did a total of 3 times last season. Young stars have broken out, especially Cameron Jordan, who is playing like an All-Pro back at his collegiate position of 5-technique defensive end. The offense doesn’t look right yet, but I don’t have big concerns about that going forward. The Saints could possibly be as complete as they’ve been in years this season.
The Dolphins are also 3-0, but I haven’t really changed from my pre-season projection for them because none of their wins have surprised me all that much. Teams win 3 games in a row all the time (22 of 32 teams did last season, including these Dolphins, who finished 7-9) and it’s not usually that impressive, but it’s just so much more noticeable when it happens at the start of the season. I’m not saying the Dolphins are the 2011 Bills or the 2012 Cardinals, but they are the worst of the 3-0 teams right now.
The Dolphins are also banged up right now. Paul Soliai and Cameron Wake are both questionable for this one and might not play. This isn’t a huge, huge deal because the Dolphins have a lot of defensive line depth, but Cameron Wake is one of the best defensive players in the entire NFL. Having him out or limited is going to have a noticeable impact on the Dolphins’ defense. It’s going to make it very tough for the Dolphins to slow Drew Brees and Ryan Tannehill will be forced to keep up. Tannehill is improved, but I don’t think he can win a shootout, especially against an improved defense that can take the ball away.
I’m also not betting against the Saints in the Superdome. They’ve won and covered their last 11 instances at home under Sean Payton, dating back to the start of the 2011 season. Brees is also historically been very good on Monday Night Football as a member of the Saints, going 8-4 ATS in these situations in his career. This line is pretty high, but as long as it’s under a touchdown, the Saints are clearly the right side. I think this could easily be a blowout that establishes the Saints as contenders and knocks the Dolphins down a notch.
New Orleans Saints 27 Miami Dolphins 13
Pick against spread: New Orleans -6.5