OK, I admit it. My advice for this one was to bet the farm on the Saints and give the 13.5 points.
Hopefully, none of you owns farms. (Of course, if you did, now you don’t.)
But it was the smart play. The Saints had beaten every team they’d faced by eight or more points, with a 21-point win over the Giants and a 26-point margin over the Eagles.
The Rams, on the other hand, had mustered 20 points only once all year.
That said, lightning nearly struck in St. Louis on Sunday, with the Rams coming within a late 32-yard heave to the end zone of knocking off the supposedly invincible Saints. Heck, if the Rams had mustered a two-point conversion only a few minutes earlier, a field goal would have been enough to deliver overtime.
It’s a phenomenon that the Saints likely will be facing as the season continues to unfold. They’ll be getting the absolute best that each team they face has to offer — and the bad teams who are merely playing out the string could be even more dangerous, throwing caution to the wind in the hopes of unexpectedly planting a stone into Goliath’s eye.
That’s why next week’s trip to Tampa becomes even more precarious. Knocking off the Saints would provide a bright spot in an otherwise dark season. So the Saints would be wise to think not about the following Monday, when the Patriots will come to town, but to focus on taking care of business against a team that will be willing to pull out all stops to win.
Even if it means going for it on fourth and two from their own 28.