The 2010 NFL preseason kicks off again Thursday night when the New Orleans Saints take on the New England Patriots.
The early money from the NFL betting public has come in on the road underdog and the line has shifted. The Patriots are now just 1 ½ point betting favorites.
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This preseason game is different than most games because the Patriots and the Saints have held several joint practices leading up to kickoff. The teams will practice together on Tuesday and Wednesday leading up to kickoff.
The teams will begin independently, as they warm-up and complete individual drills. About a third of the way through the practice, the teams join together in practice and do work as a unit, which is likely to include a blend of group and team drills.
The Saints and the Patriots have faced off eight times in preseason and the series is split at four wins for each team.
The Saints have a preseason record of 9-8 under head coach Sean Payton.
Meanwhile, Bill Belichick has compiled an overall record of 34-27 in the preseason, including a 23-18 mark as Patriots head coach. With that type of record it would indicate that Belichick stresses winning in the preseason, but this year he may have a different approach.
Injuries and holdouts have been a concern for the Patriots during training camp.
Offensive lineman, Logan Mankins is in the middle of a contract dispute and has yet to arrive in camp. Nick Kaczur, who was expected to replace Mankins, has suffered a back injury and will be out indefinitely. Enter Dan Connolly, third string left guard, who has now been propelled to starter.
On defense, the Patriots will be short handed on the defensive line without Ty Warren. The Pats will use a steady rotation of Mike Wright, Gerard Warren and Damione Lewis to try and fill the void.
The Probable preseason quarterback rotations for the Patriots: Tom Brady, Brain Hoyer, Jeff Rowe and Zac Robinson (rookie-Oklahoma State)
Last year, Belichick allowed Brady to play longer than expected in the preseason but don’t expect that again this year. Last year he played longer to get his rhythm back since he was coming off an injury and with a jumbled offensive line, they won’t risk his health.
The probable preseason quarterback rotations for the Saints: Drew Bees, Patrick Ramsey, Chase Daniels and Sean Canfield (rookie-Oregon State). The Saints come into this game eager to take the field after winning the Super Bowl last season. The Saints are surprisingly deep in many areas on the field with few question marks as they start the 2010 campaign.
Game Time Winning Pick: The great thing about this game is you can monitor the group practices to see how each team is doing leading up to this game.
When they played each other in the regular season last year, the Saints dominated the line of scrimmage. The Saints should have no problem repeating that feat in preseason. The Patriots will rotate players on both lines and try different combinations to see what will work. The Saints will have more depth and consistency in both lines.
The starters on both sides will not play long but when it comes to depth at QB, the edge again goes to the Saints. Patrick Ramsey and Chase Daniels are both fighting for the number two spot, and Ramsey has experience at the pro level. The Patriots are inexperienced after Brady sits down, and they have a history of starting slow in preseason.
New England is 6-1 ATS in their past seven NFL preseason openers, and they are a combined 1-5 ATS in their first two preseason games over the past three seasons.
The Saints get the win on the road in their preseason opener.
Final New Orleans 17 New England 13
The NFL kicks into full preseason gear this week, so sit back, tune in, and enjoy the games!
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