In their first season without future Hall of Fame member Drew Brees working behind the New Orleans Saints center, head coach Sean Payton has had a devil of a time replacing Brees.
The season began with one-time top pick in the draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jameis Winston, running the Saints offense. Winston was expendable to the Bucs when they replaced him with a sixth round choice in the 2000 draft, Tom Brady.
Under the schooling of Payton, Winston seemed to have matured as a signal caller and got the Saints off to a solid start this season that began with a 38-3 win over the team now in the driver's seat to win the NFC first round playoff bye, the Green Bay Packers.
New Orleans was 5-2 in games started by Winston, but then he was lost for the season with an injury. In his stead, the Saints first went with Trevor Siemian, who completed the victory over the Buccaneers in which Winston was hurt, but didn’t notch any wins in his four starts.
The Saints turned to Taysom Hill, who got the Saints back into the playoff hunt with a pair of wins in his three starts.
Tonight, both Siemian and Hill are unavailable, currently on the reserve COVID-19 list.
So, options one, two and three to replace Brees are out, and New Orleans turns to their fourth round pick in this year’s draft, Ian Book.
Book has something over a few other fellow Notre Dame quarterbacks, namely Joe Montana, Joe Theismann and Daryle Lamonica … more wins. Book left the Fighting Irish with more wins as a starting quarterback for the University than any other Notre Dame signal caller, 30.
Can he get one in his first attempt in the NFL?
The book makers don’t think so.
The Saints opened as a three point favorite before Hill and Siemian were moved to the COVID list, and now are three point underdogs to the visiting Miami Dolphins.
With the virus running rampant through the league, a number of teams have lost key players to the Covid protocol and those teams have all suffered on the field in response. Will the Saints fail too?
While New Orleans has nine players on the reserve COVID-19 list for tonight’s game, the Dolphins come in riding a six game winning streak on the heels of a seven game losing run. Their 7-7 season mark has them alive for a playoff berth despite their 1-7 record seven weeks ago.
Does that mean the Dolphins will have it easy in the Big Easy tonight?
I’m not banking on Book against a talented Miami defense, but following a six point shift on the point spread against a New Orleans squad that shutout Tom Brady and company on their home field last week doesn’t appear to be a wise choice either.
If New Orleans was able to hand Brady his first career shutout on his home field last week, what might they do against a Miami offense that is not the strength of their surge?
What do I think this generates?
A low scoring contest and no play on the point spread.