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NFL picks and predictions, Saints vs. Washington 2015: Experts favor New Orleans on the road

Can the Saints make the playoffs with the league's second-worst defense?

The New Orleans Saints and Washington enter their Week 10 matchup at a crossroads in their seasons. Both teams are under .500 and desperately trying to keep their slim postseason hopes alive -- Football Outsiders gives the Saints an 11.1 percent chance to reach the playoffs while Washington is at 10.3 percent.

New Orleans is riding some midseason momentum, having won four of its last six games after an 0-3 start. Washington, on the other hand, has slipped in the past few weeks with three losses in its last four games. The loser of this matchup won't mathematically be eliminated from the division or wild-card race, but it would put that team in a huge hole that would be nearly impossible to climb out of and reach the playoffs.

The Saints had their three-game win streak snapped last Sunday by losing at home to the Tennessee Titans, 34-28, in a game that was really a microcosm of their season: plenty of bad defense, an explosive offense and a ton of inconsistency. Drew Brees and the aerial attack have found their groove after a sluggish start and the team can definitely put points up on the board. They rank first in total offense, second in passing offense and sixth in scoring offense. The problem is on the other side of the ball, where they are second-to-last in both yards allowed and points allowed per game.

The Saints' porous defense might be just what the doctor ordered to help energize a slumping Washington offense. They are among the bottom five teams in both scoring and total offense, and have put up more than 24 points just once this season. While limiting turnovers is a crucial factor for any team, it's almost a necessity for Washington. The team is 3-0 when it has one or zero giveaways in a game, and 0-5 when it has at least two.

The experts are riding New Orleans and its potent offense in this game, with the majority picking the Saints to beat Washington. Five of the eight guys at CBS Sports have the road team, while six of the seven here at SB Nation are also taking the Saints.


Ryan Van Bibber Stephen White Joel Thorman David Fucillo Danny Kelly Matt Ufford OddsShark
NO vs WAS NO NO NO NO NO WAS NO