New Orleans Saints

NFL Week 17 odds roundup: Playoff positioning on the line in top matchups

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With backup Matt McGloin at the controls, the Oakland Raiders will try to sustain their road-warrior mojo against the Denver Broncos. The playoff-bound Raiders, minus QB Derek Carr (broken fibula), are 2.5-point road underdogs against the Broncos at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The New England Patriots’ result will determine whether the Raiders have a shot at the AFC’s No. 1 seed, but a loss coupled with a Kansas City Chiefs win would leave them in a wild-card spot. The Raiders are 9-1 against the spread in their last 10 road games.

The Raiders, through RB Latavius Murray, have the fifth-ranked rushing attack and Denver is porous against the run. If McGloin passes well enough to keep the Broncos defense honest, Oakland could outscore Denver’s mediocre offense.

The New England Patriots are listed as 10-point road favorites against the Miami Dolphins.  The Dolphins, who are 9-1 SU and 8-1-1 ATS over their last 10 games, will have RB Jay Ajayi in the lineup to help with their formula of running the ball and playing good defense. Tom Brady might rely on RB LeGarrette Blount to ease the load, since Miami’s run defense is just average.

The Kansas City Chiefs are a 5.5-point road favorite against the San Diego Chargers as they vie for the AFC West title. The Chiefs, who rolled against Denver in Week 16, are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games after an ATS win, but FS Eric Berry and a takeaway-happy defense are matched against the team with the NFL’s second-most turnovers.

The Washington Redskins, who need a win and some help to make the playoffs, are eight-point favorites against the New York Giants, the locked-in No. 5 seed. Washington has not been this big of a favorite since 2009. Whether QB Kirk Cousins‘ primary targets such as WR DeSean Jackson and TE Jordan Reed face the Giants’ starters for a full four quarters is unclear.

The Atlanta Falcons are 6.5-point favorites against the New Orleans Saints. Matt Ryan‘s offense has lit up the scoreboard against much better defenses than the Saints’ 25th-ranked unit. On the other side of the ball, Drew Brees has the league’s most productive offense and New Orleans is 5-2 SU in their last seven visits to Atlanta.

And with the NFC North title on the line, the Green Bay Packers are favored by 3.5 points on the road against the Detroit Lions in the Sunday Night Football matchup. The Lions are 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS in their last six home games, but have rarely shown the type of formidable pass rush it would take to get Packers QB Aaron Rodgers out of the zone he has been in for the past five games.

MUST-SEE: Saints pull off flea flicker for touchdown (VIDEO)

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When your offense isn’t exactly firing on every cylinder, sometimes you’ve gotta get creative.

The New Orleans Saints dusted off the flea flicker Sunday and executed it in picture-perfect fashion. Mark Ingram sold the rush, Drew Brees threw a dime and wideout Willie Snead was waiting in the end zone for the ball behind two New York Giants defenders.

It’s a thing of beauty.

Brees’ uncertain status impacting Saints-Cowboys SNF matchup

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(OddsShark.com) The New Orleans Saints will be looking to end a six-game straight up and against the spread losing streak at home when they take the field for a Sunday Night Football matchup with the hobbled Dallas Cowboys.

The Saints have stumbled to an 0-3 start to the season which has been complicated by the loss of quarterback Drew Brees, who was sidelined by a shoulder injury in the club’s 26-19 Week 2 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But after participating in practice earlier this week, Brees’ status remains uncertain, and as of Friday morning the line for Sunday’s contest at was still off the board at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Saints’ early woes continued with a 27-22 loss to Carolina last week, but they picked up their first against the spread win of the campaign, covering as 10-point underdogs and ending a four-game ATS losing streak.

Formerly a feared foe in their own building, New Orleans enters Sunday night’s Cowboys vs. Saints betting matchup at the Superdome winless SU and ATS in their last six at home, losing by an average margin of over 13 points during that stretch.

If Brees is unable to go the Saints will once again turn to Luke McCown, who performed admirably against the Panthers, completing 31 of 38 attempts, but failing to find the end zone while tossing one interception in his first major assignment since leading Jacksonville to a 16-14 win over Tennessee in Week 1 of the 2011 season.

The Cowboys also head into Week 4 with no shortage of challenges, starting with their star pivot, Tony Romo, who remains sidelined with a broken collarbone. Veteran Brandon Weeden will once again start in place of Romo. The 31-year-old completed 22 of 26 pass attempts for 232 yards against the Falcons, but failed to connect on a major score. Dallas missed Romo in last weekend’s 39-28 loss to Atlanta, which dropped them to 2-1 on the season, 1-2 ATS.

The Cowboys are also without Romo’s top target, Dez Bryant, who continues to recover from a broken foot that will keep out of action until at least Week 7. Running back Joseph Randle picked up some of the slack against Atlanta, making three touchdown runs that gave Dallas a 28-14 halftime lead.

Randle will likely see more of the ball against a Saints rush defense that ranks No. 24 in the NFL and has surrendered 126 yards per game, as the Cowboys look to improve on their 2-8 SU record in their last 10 against New Orleans, 3-7 ATS, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.