I do think getting back Rob Gronkowski will help the Patriots offense, but I'm just not confident in the Patriots ability to slow down the Saints' passing attack. If the Patriots are playing catch-up, or are in a shootout, I do not think this game will have a winning outcome for them. That being said, the Patriots are at home, and they can't possibly be as bad as they were last week. If they can stay committed to a balance attack and set up the play action, they'll have a chance to put up some points and perhaps even win this one. For now, I'm predicting a Saints victory. The Prediction: Saints 27 Patriots 20
The Patriots can't perform much worse than their putrid offensive effort last week against the Bengals, and being in the friendly confines of Gillette will certainly help remedy this. The Saints are a dynamic juggernaut that will be the Patriots' biggest test to date in each phase of the game, but I oddly feel better about this game on the heels of a crushing loss. The Patriots will be focused and determined to prove last week was nothing more than a fluke, and while the game won't be won handily by either side, I think the Pats get back in the win column and find a way to pull this one out. The defense exercises some timely damage control and the addition of Rob Gronkowski in red zone packages cures the anemia. The Prediction: Pats 27, Saints 23
The Patriots will play better than they played against the Bengals, but ultimately the Saints are just too stacked on offense and too opportunistic on defense. Look for the D to put in another solid performance and limit Drew Brees, who will hopefully play more like he did against Tampa Bay than he did against Miami, but if Brees is on, the lack of a solid pass rush and an inability to consistently blitz because of all of the Saints' receiving options could put the Patriots in a shootout - a game they are no longer capable of winning. I'm hoping the defense can keep this game relatively low scoring, but a couple of big plays from the Saints may keep their undefeated streak alive. The Prediction: Saints 24, Patriots 20
I don't expect the offense to produce at a high enough level to keep up the the Saints. I do expect the defense to slug it out (Aqib Talib will definitely shadow Jimmy Graham at points) and for this to be low scoring. The Prediction: Saints 24 Patriots 20
It's not often that the Patriots lose back-to-back games. They have also been one of the best home teams in the NFL for years (23-3 at Gillette since 2010). That being said, New England will drop this game 21-14.
New Orleans has the fourth best offense in the NFL, and without a doubt will be the toughest test yet for this Patriots defense (until Week 12 against the Broncos). Their greatest challenge will be shutting down tight end Jimmy Graham. And, despite the drastic improvement in the secondary, the Pats will allow three touchdowns to the high-octane Saints, while still muddling through on offense (despite the reported return of Rob Gronkowski). The Prediction: Saints 21 Patriots 14
Wallace Delery, Canal Street Chronicles:
Both defenses have been stout, averaging 15 and 14 ppg respectively, but the Saints represent the best offense the Pats have seen this season. This one should come down to the fourth quarter with the Saints pulling out the win. The Prediction: Saints 24 Patriots 17