After their epic win over the Rams last week, the New Orleans Saints will try to avoid a letdown in Week 10 as they visit the Cincinnati Bengals. Game time is at 1:00 EST on Sunday, November 11, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Fans in certain markets will be able to watch the game on Fox.
The Week 10 NFL odds list the Saints as 4.5-point favorites on the road. That line has only increased slightly after New Orleans opened the week as 4-point favorites. The over/under for the game is set at 54 points.
There may be no stopping the Saints after last week’s win. They knocked off the previously unbeaten Rams to earn their seventh consecutive win, putting them in the driver’s seat for home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs. Drew Brees still refuses to play like someone who’s approaching 40 and the New Orleans offense has a chance to get even better moving forward with the team signing Dez Bryant this past week.
For what it’s worth, their schedule the second half of the season is by no means easy. The Saints still have to play five games against playoff teams from a year ago and have four games against teams from the rough and tumble NFC South. They also have the Panthers nipping at their heels just a game back, so New Orleans can’t afford to let up as they go for their eighth straight win.
The Bengals, meanwhile, are coming into this game fresh off their bye week. Last time out, Cincinnati was able to squeak out a win over Tampa Bay, which prevented them from entering their bye on a three-game losing streak. Despite a couple of hiccups in October, the Bengals are 5-3 on the season and just half a game behind Pittsburgh for first place in the AFC North.
Looking ahead, Cincinnati’s schedule the rest of the way is fairly manageable. They play four of their last eight games against teams with losing records. However, the Bengals play the Saints this week and the Ravens next week, and back-to-back losses could easily knock them back to .500. Star receiver A.J. Green is also expected to miss those two games, possibly more. If the Bengals can split those two games, they’ll be in good shape heading into December. But if not, they’ll have some serious work to do down the stretch, so a win this week would be huge for their playoff hopes.
The Saints have made winning look rather routine over the past month, and I expect that to be the case again this weekend. The Bengals don’t match up all that well with New Orleans, and everything will be that much harder without Green on the field. Even on the road, I’ll be surprised if the Saints don’t win by at least a touchdown. This is an easy lean toward New Orleans.
If the Rams couldn’t stop the New Orleans offense last week, there aren’t many teams in football that will have any chance at all. With all the talent the Rams have on their defensive line, Brees wasn’t sacked at all last week, giving him more than enough time to throw for nearly 350 yards and four touchdowns. When the Saints are able to stay balanced with Alvin Kamara and the running game, they’re almost impossible to stop.
On paper, the Cincinnati defense doesn’t look like a unit that can keep up with the Saints. The Bengals have become one of the worst defensive teams in the NFL, giving up nearly 30 points per game. That number is closer to 37 points per game in their last three contests. Creating turnovers may be the one thing the Bengals do well on defense. For example, they accumulated four interceptions against the Bucs last time out.
However, Brees has just one interception this season and the Saints have only turned it over eight times all year. The Bengals probably can’t count on creating takeaways against the Saints. If they’re lucky, they may get one. If the past few weeks are any indication, if the Cincinnati defense doesn’t create turnovers, they’re not stopping anyone.
The Bengals are also likely to struggle to match the New Orleans offense score for score without Green. To be fair, Tyler Boyd is having an outstanding season as Cincy’s no. 2 receiver. But a lot of his success is due in part to teams knowing they have to give Green extra attention. It remains to be seen if Boyd can flourish when he’s the top option in the passing game.
Cincinnati will surely have to lean on Joe Mixon to help carry the offense. However, the Saints have been surprisingly stingy against the run this year. They are giving up just 3.4 yards per carry. Not even Todd Gurley and the Rams could eclipse the 100-yard mark on the ground last week. If the Saints can stop Mixon, the Bengals may struggle to find a Plan B and Andy Dalton could become turnover prone.
Barring an amazing and uncanny performance from the Cincinnati defense this week, the Bengals are going to have a tough time staying competitive. Without a defense that can slow down the Saints or an offense that can match them, it’s only a matter of time until New Orleans pulls away and covers the 4.5-point spread comfortably.