Broncos, Saints Meet In Expected High-Scoring Affair

By: Michael Robinson | Thursday, October 25, 2012

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will be looking for his long-awaited revenge against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday Night Football.

The Don Best Pro Odds have Denver as 6-point favorites with a total of 55½. NBC will broadcast at 8:20 p.m. (ET) from Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

This is the first time Manning has faced his hometown New Orleans team since the February 2010 Super Bowl. He was a member of the Indianapolis Colts then and was shocked in the 31-17 loss as 4 ½-point favorites. A late pick-six off Manning sealed the win for the Saints.

The now 36-year-old Manning is in his first year with Denver, which is sporting a 3-3 straight up and against the spread mark. That puts them tied with San Diego for first place in the AFC West.

Things would be much bleaker if not for the incredible comeback the Broncos had at San Diego last game on October 15. Trailing 24-0 at halftime, they ripped off 35 unanswered points in the second half. Manning finished with 309 passing yards and three TDs, while Philip Rivers had a historically bad day with six turnovers by himself.

Note that Denver is 2-1 SU and ATS at home this year, which is a reason for this solid spread. The offense is scoring 31 PPG in those home tilts, with the 55½-point total easily the highest in the NFL this week.

Denver is coming off a bye and is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 games in that situation.

The Saints (2-4 SU, 3-3 ATS) lost their first four games and were reeling from the bountygate scandal that threatened the whole franchise. However, they have won their last two, home versus San Diego (31-24) and at Tampa Bay last week (35-28), covering the last three overall.

More good news is on the way with Joe Vitt returning from his bounty-related suspension. He is the head coach now with Sean Payton suspended for the season and Vitt’s presence will be a shot in the arm.

Vitt has a defensive background and will be looking to fix the NFL’s worst ‘D’ statistically in total yards (465.5 YPG). The unit allowed 513 to Tampa Bay last week even with linebacker Jonathan Vilma returning from his suspension.

The Saints’ offense is still very potent at 29.3 PPG, ranked third. They’ve depended mostly on Drew Brees and the passing game as the rushing attack ranks dead-last (76.2 YPG). They had a much more balanced running attack last season (132.9, ranked sixth).

It’s hard to imagine New Orleans running the ball really well this week, while Denver is also struggling in that category (93.8 YPG, ranked 23rd). That means it could be a Manning and Brees shootout in the Rocky Mountains.

Note the ‘over’ is 5-1 in New Orleans’ games this year and 10-1 in the last 11 overall.

These teams meet every four years with the latest in 2008 (34-32 Denver home win as 5-point favorites). The ‘over’ is 5-1 in the last six meetings dating back to 1985.

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