BOSTON (CBS) — The last time the Saints marched into Gillette Stadium was in 2013, when Tom Brady led the Patriots to a dramatic last-second win, hitting Kenbrell Thompkins for a 17-yard touchdown with five seconds left. Pandemonium ensued, including Scott Zolak’s famous “unicorns and show ponies” radio call.
Sunday’s tilt between the new-look Patriots and the new-look Saints may not be as dramatic. Mac Jones vs. Jameis Winston just doesn’t have the same buzz as Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees. But Sunday should still be a pretty good football game, with both teams coming in at 1-1 on the season. The Saints are looking to bounce back after a bad loss to the Panthers, while the Patriots are looking to build off a win over the Jets before next weekend’s showdown with Brady and the Buccaneers.
Here is how the WBZ-TV and CBS Boston sports team sees Sunday’s clash playing out:
Steve Burton, WBZ-TV
The Patriots should pick up their first win at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. The Pats are 2.5-point favorites to beat the Saints. The game plan? Stop the run and make quarterback Jameis Winston put it in the air. Winston is inconsistent and the Patriots defense thrives on interceptions.
Stopping the run won’t be easy. Alvin Kamara is New Orleans’ go-to guy and the team’s most dangerous weapon.
On offense, the Patriots need to get into the end zone and stop settling for field goals. And they will. Mac Jones is feeling more and more comfortable with the playbook. Now the offensive line has to protect him.
Patriots 28, Saints 17
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV
Lots of weapons on offense for New Orleans that the Patriots have to deal with, starting with Alvin Kamara. He’s due for a breakout game after being shut down last week against Carolina. Jameis Winston is vulnerable to the sack as he was taken down four times by the Panthers.
The Saints D will be a good challenge for the Patriots offense, which is still finding its way. This should be a fun game.
Patriots 27, Saints 24
Levan Reid, WBZ-TV
So the first win of the season is in the books for the Pats and now they play a game where they have to get ready for a complex offense.
Since 2010, the Pats and the Saints rank No. 1 and No. 2 in scoring in the NFL. For the New England defense, they will have to stick to their keys and not get caught watching all the movement and eye candy.
I also think this is the week the Pats score with a pass in the red zone.
Next week is coming fast and the Pats need this win to get them ready for Tom Brady and the Tampa invasion.
Patriots 30, Saints 20
Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
I don’t feel great about either team. To watch the Saints last week was to watch Jameis Winston under siege by opposing pass rushers far too often. Mac Jones can relate.
Both teams need to fix some problems on their O-line. I’ll give the Patriots the slight edge to solve their issues faster, with Trent Brown returning practice and with the advantage of playing without road crowd noise this week. It still ought to be tough sledding for both passing offenses.
(Plus, you know Jameis has to give the Foxboro crowd at least one interception in his first game ever in New England. Here’s guessing it comes on a last-gasp, fourth-quarter heave into a group of blue jerseys.)
Patriots 18, Saints 12
Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
Both of these teams are trying to figure things out on offense with new quarterbacks at the helm and offensive lines that haven’t been playing at their best. I expect both defenses to take full advantage of that.
The Pats will look to shut down Alvin Kamara, who had a rare no-show last weekend, and force Jameis Winston to have a mistake-free Sunday. The Saints will look to shut down Damien Harris and James White, and make Mac Jones beat them with papercuts. The Pats really need Trent Brown back to provide a lot more protection for Jones, after the QB was sacked three times last week in New Jersey.
A few years ago this would have been an incredible matchup between two of the league’s best offenses. Now, not so much. I’ll give the Patriots a slight edge though because they’re at home and the defense will probably pick off a Winston pass or four.
Patriots 16, Saints 13
WBZ-TV gets you ready for Patriots-Saints on Sunday morning with Patriots GameDay at 11:30am, and after the game switch over to TV38 for full reaction and analysis on Patriots Fifth Quarter!