After a turnover-laden loss to Baltimore, the Saints look to tighten things up against Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars in Monday night preseason action.
New Orleans kept its powder dry against the Ravens, resting Alvin Kamara, along with All-Pro starting tackles Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk.
On the other side, Urban Meyer adjusts to life in the NFL and deals with his own QB situation. Lawrence hasn’t decisively wrestled the reins from Gardner Minshew.
All eyes will be on the play-callers come Monday, when the Saints host the Jaguars.
FanDuel is dealing the Saints moneyline at -180, and DraftKings offers +175 on the Jags.
The total sits between 38.5 and 39.
Jameis Winton Vs. Taysom Hill
The quarterback battle in New Orleans continues between Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston. As expected, Hill took the opening snaps against the Ravens while Winston played with the second team until halftime. Sean Payton plans to start Winston against Jacksonville and give Hill reps with the second-team offense.
DraftKings lists Winston as the -185 favorite to take the first snap of the regular season for the Saints, a small adjustment from the -190 offered ahead of last week’s game. Still, this market has trended in Winston’s direction since opening at -140.
One constant throughout Saints training camp has been Winston’s impressive deep ball, especially compared to Hill’s deficiencies in that area. It makes sense that Winston would get the nod with Hill utilized in different packages. That’s unless Famous Jameis struggles with turnovers again.
As Hill explained to nola.com, it’s about more than stats, “You guys can look at statistics and you can say what you want to say, but internally, we know what our concepts are, we know what the play call was, and I know if that was the right decision and the ball went where it needed to go. There are so many things that go into playing this position that, outside of this building, you’re just not aware of.”
The handicapping theory that a battle between two experienced QBs benefits a team in the preseason bodes well for bettors laying the 4 points.
Urban Meyer’s NFL Education
Meyer’s adjustment to the NFL will be a bellwether for Jacksonville’s success. As he’s learning, teams get fewer plays at the pro level.
“Every drive counts,” Meyer told Jaguars.com. “When you’re only talking about 60 plays (in the NFL) and three hours of football, that’s a big change for a lot of players – and coaches. You only get a couple of drives a half. In college, you’re 80 or 90 plays a lot of times.”
That scarcity of snaps may play into the head coach’s decision at quarterback. Lawrence is still the clear favorite to start, both Monday night against the Saints and in Week 1 of the regular season against the Texans, but Gardner Minshew has taken plenty of first-team reps during training camp.
When asked a week before the game who would start against New Orleans, Meyer demurred (via Pro Football Talk), “There’s a decent chance (Lawrence will start, but) we haven’t made that decision yet.”
Early in his NFL career, Meyer doesn’t seem interested in holding back in the preseason.
“So much I hear, ‘Well, we can’t show this, can’t show this, can’t show this,'” said the Jacksonville head honcho. “I want to go some tempo. I’m used to some certain things. You’ll see more of it as we get moving forward. What you saw is not what we’re going to be. I get it. We’re right out of the chute. I think sometimes coaches think, ‘We can’t show this. We can’t show this.’ I’m like, ‘Why?'”
Perhaps his itchiness to win gives gamblers some value on Jaguars +4.5.