The New Orleans Saints lost their head coach, linebackers coach, middle linebacker, and starting defensive end to suspensions ranging from a couple of games to the entire sportsbook season when the NFL addressed the Bountygate scandal in the offseason. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Saints have lost all three of their projected starting linebackers in three preseason games with Curtis Lofton, Chris Chamberlain, and David Hawthorne all down, forcing the team to trade with the Seattle Seahawks to bring in Barrett Ruud. New Orleans would be happy just to escape a preseason game without significant injury, and it will be interesting to see how interim coach Joe Vitt, ironically also the linebacker coach, handles the task of balancing playing time against the visiting Houston Texans.
The Texans have looked impressive through two preseason wins, particularly on the defensive side of the ball where they continue to find ways to generate pressure up front. The Houston defense would be a welcome competition for the Saints’ offense if the team wasn’t already so banged up, but with so much relying on Drew Brees and the passing game look for Vitt to play it safe.
NFL Betting Preview: Houston Texans
Houston appears to be in much better shape heading in to the most important dress rehearsal of the preseason, and that should allow head coach Gary Kubiak to try more things. Then again, quarterback Matt Schaub, wide receiver Andre Johnson, and running back Arian Foster have all been banged up at times over the last three years, and those three pieces will be key to the team’s success this season. Schaub already took the majority of the snaps against the 49ers and could leave more touches for TJ Yates, while the defense will get its toughest test so far against a talented Saints’ attack.
NFL Betting Preview: New Orleans Saints
Giving up 27 points to the Jacksonville Jaguars is usually a bad sign for any defense, but considering what New Orleans has been through already and that the New York Giants struggled against Blaine Gabbert and company in their exhibition opener, it may be okay to overlook that. Look for the Saints to be very vanilla in this game and give the depth players more time than usual for a third preseason game in order to both keep the starters healthy and see if there is any talent ready to step up and take on a bigger role.
NFL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick
The Saints would be among the top sports betting Super Bowl contenders in the NFL if it wasn’t for the suspensions and injuries that have torn down their defense, and being as healthy as possible for the regular season should be all that matters at this point. The Texans arrive in New Orleans after consecutive wins with more depth and very strong starting talent in the first place, so don’t expect the Saints to compete as though this game is anything more than a chance to evaluate its depth players while avoiding injury.
NFL Betting Pick: Houston Texans