Battle Of Unbeatens

Drew Brees

Dolphins-Saints: Monday night battle of surprise unbeatens...

Cold, Hard Football Facts Insider with Scout.com breaks down every NFL game against the spread through the prism of our 22 cutting-edge Quality Stats. CHFF Insiders have gone .500 or better ATS in 72 percent of NFL weeks since the start of 2009. CHFF Insiders with Scout.com also get access to betting trends, key prop plays (9-2 in 2013), inside interviews with Vegas bookmakers and detailed team stat profiles. Become a CHFF Insider with Scout.com today. 

Miami at New Orleans (-6.5)

The Monday Night Football showdown may be the most interesting game of a Week 4 slate packed with statistical storylines.

First, Miami and New Orleans are two of the smartest, most well-coached teams in football, according to the Cold, Hard Football Intelligence Index, which measures how well teams play in situational football.

The Dolphins are No. 5 in team intelligence; the Saints No. 7.

Second, both teams are in the midst of dramatically strong starts to the 2013 campaign. Miami, with Kansas City, is the most surprising 3-0 team in football, while the Saints, also 3-0, are rebounding nicely from their NFL-imposed exile of 2012.

Miami has been solid top to bottom. But Ryan Tannehill is still playing far from an elite level: the ‘Fins are No. 21 Real Quarterback Rating. The team also lacks explosiveness, as measured by a number of indicators, including a No. 30 ranking in Total Team Yards (all yards produced in all phases of the game).

The Saints have yielded plenty of surprises with head coach Sean Payton back on the sidelines after his one-year suspension. In fact, the great strengths of the Saints have not been with Drew Brees and the offense, but with a totally rejuvenated defense under new coordinator Rob Ryan. New Orleans is a league leader in almost every major measure of defense.

That's quite a dramatic turnaround from 2012, when New Orleans was the first and only defense in NFL history to yield more than 7,000 yards of offense.

The difference between these two clubs right now is in the quality of competition. The Dolphins have actually looked better against a tougher slate, with wins over Atlanta and at Indianapolis.

The Saints beat the same Atlanta team in Week 1, while their other wins have come against highly suspect offenses from Tampa Bay and Arizona. Those weak opponents have made the New Orleans defense look better than it really is right now and helped the team ease into the season.

Miami actually boasts an advantage on the Relativity Index as a result of the difference in schedule: +10.50 (5th), to +7.83 (8th) for the Saints. This indicator measures how well teams perform relative to the quality of opponents played.

We're not sure the Dolphins have the fins to swim past the Saints Monday night. But all indicators tell us this should be a close and interesting game.

Pick: New Orleans 24, Miami 21

Cold, Hard Football Facts Insider with Scout.com breaks down every NFL game against the spread through the prism of our 22 cutting-edge Quality Stats. CHFF Insiders have gone .500 or better ATS in 72 percent of NFL weeks since the start of 2009. CHFF Insiders with Scout.com also get access to betting trends, key prop plays (9-2 in 2013), inside interviews with Vegas bookmakers and detailed team stat profiles. Become a CHFF Insider with Scout.com today. 

 

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