Prediction: New Orleans Saints 40, Jacksonville Jaguars 24
Written by  // Saturday, 01 October 2011 12:18 //

Drew Brees

Drew Brees has eight touchdowns and no interceptions in his three career starts against Jacksonville.

The Saints (2-1) battle the Jaguars (1-2) on Sunday at noon at Jacksonville.

Can the Jaguars upset the Saints?  The Jags have scored 29 points in three games and the Saints are averaging 36 point per game.

And rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert will start his second NFL game against a Gregg Williams-coordinated blitzing defense. Williams has a history of confounding rookie quarterbacks. So is there any hope for the Jaguars? There is because the Jags are at home, and somehow in the NFL, when everyone thinks the scales are tipped to one side, it often doesn't work out that way.

The Jags have a good defense, and they have an elite running game. That can help counter-act the Saints defense. The Jags will need some breaks and they'll need to create momentum-changing points, producing plays on defense and special teams. If they do those things they have a chance.

Brees said he hasn't seen much of Gabbert. "But it looks like he's getting his opportunity. You don't get drafted high unless you have some talent. He's a Missouri product and so is Chase Daniel.  I'm tired of hearing Chase bragging about him. Chase takes all the credit for mentoring Gabbert at Missouri.

"I agree with Coach (Sean) Payton that the Jaguars play well at home. Their defense has played extremely well for the whole season.

"They've been great against the run and they're a team that's pretty conservative as far as their zone coverge structure. They don't give up big plays."

Gabbert said he will throw the ball more this week. However, if I were coach Jack Del Rio, I'd tell the rookie to hand off to running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who is an elite runner ranks third in NFL rushing.

Prediction: Lay the 7 points. Saints 40, Jaguars 24.

NFL picks: Lions +1 1/2 over Cowboys; 49ers +9 over Eagles; Rams +1 1/2 over Redskins; Titans +1 1/2 over Browns; Bills -3 over Bengals; Panthers +6 over Bears' Steelers +4 over Texans;  Falcons -4 1/2 over Seahawks (best bet);  Giants -1 over Cardinals (lock); Chargers -7 over Dolphins;  Chargers 12 over Broncos; Raiders + 4 1/2 over Patriots;  Jets +3 1.2 over Ravens; and Buccaneers -10 over Colts. Last week: 9-3. Season: 27-12.

Saints RB Darren Sproles leads the NFL with 528 all-purpose yards...The Saints are ranked second in the NFL in offense (14th rushing, 2nd passing) and 21st on defense (9th rushing, 27th passing),,,Drew Brees has now thrown a touchdown pass in 30 consecutive games, tied with Dan Marino for the NFL's third-longest streak...

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio got the media's attention on Thursday when. he said, "Drew Brees was not big enough, not fast enough, not a big arm." The coach's tongue was firmly in cheek. "Just a great player." How does Brees do it? "People come in different shapes, and you can't measure the heart," said Del Rio. "We have a guy on our team, Maurice Jones Drew,  that heard some of the same things. So football players come in different size packages, but he's clearly one of the elite players in the league at his position and has done a great job in his time there in New Orleans."...

Enough non-premium tickets have been sold to avoid a blackout for Sunday's game. This week, the Bengals are blacking out their game against Buffalo, and the Chargers are blacking out their home game against Miami...

The Red Sox melted down and lost a 9-game lead to the Rays and the Patriots blew a 21-0 lead to the Bills last weekend. Boston should change its nickname from "The Hub" to "The Drub."...Jay Leno: "Herman Cain won the Republican straw vote in Florida. He has had more wins in Florida than  the Dolphins."..Can you believe Michael Vick is whining that NFL officials don't protect him like they protect other quarterbacks? Vick's former dogs are saying, Yeah, you didn't protect us like other pet owners protect their dogs!"...Andy Rooney is retiring from "60 Minutes" at age 92. And, so let's remember what Rooney once said: "Vegetarian: That's an old Indian term meaning lousy hunter."...

Steve Gleason Gave New OrleansSaints Spark, Gives ALS His Life's Work by Stephen Sabludowsky, Publisher of Bayoubuzz.com

by Ed Staton and Bayoubuzz Staff

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  


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