Originally posted on Patriots Extra  |  Last updated 8/8/12

The Patriots opened as 3.5-point favorites as they host the Saints in the first week of the preseason.

Before analyzing this game, a confession/admission/mea culpa – I sucked donkey balls picking games last year. After two straight seasons of hitting nearly 60 percent of picks against the spread (a rate most professionals would brag about), I needed a tremendous run of exotic Super Bowl bets to finish just a few bucks below .500 last year. Unacceptable. The mistake was loading up on games, trying to push every tiny edge. It summarily blew up in my face. This year, I’m only going to look at the homeruns in terms of profits. One pick per week in the preseason, three per week in the regular season and playoffs. Sweet, simple, to the point. Picking against the spread isn’t like a Rex Ryan practice; I don’t have to pick a fight every day. If the results don’t improve, I’ll wear something embarrassing like a chicken suit or a Tebow jersey something. Whatever, you decide.

So, moving onto the Saints. After a tumultuous offseason, the Saints were certainly glad to get back to football. They have plenty of edges in this one. First, they’ve already played a preseason game, so they shouldn’t have as much rust. Two, if Bill Belichick’s preseason gameplans were any more vanilla, he’d get sued by Dairy Queen. Three, the Saints need to perform well to erase the stench of their offseason scandal. I think New England’s depth will be better on defense, but I think we’ll see a bit more of New Orleans’ starters than New England’s.

Word on the street is New Orleans defenders will put a bounty on any blogger who picks against the Saints this year. I need whatever is left of my knees for the tennis courts, so I can’t risk this one. Take the Saints and the points.

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