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Expert Predictions: Week 3 picks for Patriots vs. Saints

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Experts share their picks for the Patriots Week 3 matchup against the New Orleans Saints.

Mike Reiss, ESPN:

Pick: Patriots 20, Saints 17

What to watch for: The Patriots' run defense has been shaky -- the Jets totaled 152 yards on 31 carries with a 4.9-yard average -- and the Saints want to get running back Alvin Kamara going after eight carries for 5 yards vs. the Panthers in Week 2. So this is the matchup within the matchup. "If you were trying to build a perfect back, he essentially gives you everything you need," Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower said of Kamara.

Mike Triplett, ESPN

Pick: Patriots 23, Saints 20

Bold prediction: Saints QB Jameis Winston will be held under 230 passing yards for the third straight week. It won't be as ugly as last week at Carolina, when the Saints' entire offense was held to just 128 yards and six first downs because of protection issues. But it will be hard to have a "get right" game against the Patriots' stingy defense, which ranks top five in the NFL through two weeks in points allowed (11.5 per game) and yards allowed (297.5 per game)

Emmanuel Acho, ESPN: Patriots

Matt Bowen, ESPN: Patriots

Mike Clay, ESPN: Patriots

Jeremy Fowler: Patriots

Dominique Foxworth, ESPN: Patriots

Dan Graziano, ESPN: Saints

Rob Ninkovich, ESPN: Patriots

Laura Rutledge, ESPN: Patriots

Kevin Seifert, ESPN: Patriots

Seth Wickersham, ESPN: Patriots

Damien Woody, ESPN: Saints

Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com

Pick: Patriots 20, Saints 16

Both offensive lines are coming off games where they were a total mess. Both play-callers seem content to play it safe and avoid mistakes if possible. The Saints' run defense is well equipped to take away the Patriots' biggest strength, while the Patriots' ball-hawking secondary is well equipped to take away Jameis Winston's confidence. I have no idea what to make of this Saints team other than it needs to go home. I have no idea what to make of the Patriots' struggles up front on both sides of the ball. The only take to make with confidence here is that the scoreboard should reflect the long journey we've made from Brady versus Brees.

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports:

Pick: Patriots 23, Saints 16

The Saints looked bad in losing at Carolina and technically are playing a third road game in a row since they played their first home game in Jacksonville. They looked flat in losing to the Panthers last week, and now face a tough challenge on the road against the Patriots. New England's defense is playing well and will again here against Jameis Winston to get the victory.

Jason La Canfora, CBS Sports: Saints

Will Brinson, CBS Sports: Patriots

Dave Richard, CBS Sports: Patriots

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports: Patriots

John Breech, CBS Sports: Patriots

Jamey Eisenberg, CBS Sports: Patriots

Jared Dubin, CBS Sports: Patriots

Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk:

Pick: Patriots 22, Saints 16

Stop the run, and it's easier to short circuit Jameis Winston. Bill Belichick will draw it up and make it work.

Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk:

Pick: Patriots 14, Saints 13

Are we going to see the Week One Jameis Winston or the Week Two Jameis Winston? I think Bill Belichick will have a good game plan for him.

Paul Perillo, Patriots.com:

Pick: Saints 20, Patriots 16

The defenses dominate throughout but the Saints squeak out just enough offense to win.

Mike Dussault, Patriots.com:

Pick: Patriots 28, Saints 17

The Saints are a well-coached team that is going through some of the adjustments that the Patriots have gone through while transitioning at the quarterback position. They present a good set of challenges in some of the areas where the Patriots have had their biggest struggles so far this season, but it feels like the Patriots are due to make some strides in a game where things start to really click, especially on defense and for the offensive line.

Erik Scalavino, Patriots.com:

Pick: Saints 24, Patriots 20

No, New Orleans isn't as good as it looked in Week 1, nor is it as bad as it appeared in Week 2. The truth, as if often the case, rests somewhere in the middle. New England, meantime, has looked pretty much the same in its first two games of 2021, and its vulnerabilities (rush defense, O-line woes in particular) are areas that the Saints could exploit. It won't be a pretty game, but it will be close throughout. New Orleans has a bit more talent on defense than either of the Patriots' first two opponents, and that proves the deciding factor.

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