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Monday, 10 December, 2018

New Orleans are likely to be inspired on big night for Drew Brees

Washington seem to lack the power to topple the free-scoring Saints

New Orleans QB Drew Brees continues to defy his 39 years
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Sky Sports Action, 1.15am Monday

Drew Brees has done pretty well for a quarterback who was considered "too short" with "arm strength concerns" when leaving the college game.

The Saints quarterback needs 201 passing yards to overtake Peyton Manning and become the all-time NFL leader in that category - along the way he will pass current second-place QB Brett Favre when he gets to 98 yards.

The hullabaloo over the individual record is sure to overshadow the game itself but Washington and New Orleans should put on a decent show.

It's reasonable for punters thinking of backing the Saints, who are strong favourites, to be concerned that the distractions could affect their performance. But there's likely to be a party atmosphere in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome so Brees and his receivers will be keen to put on a show.

The visitors have had plenty of time to get ready for playing the role of party-poopers, having had their bye last week before playing the final game of Week Five.

It's hard to get a proper bearing on Jay Gruden's side. They beat Arizona, the league's only winless team heading into the weekend, comfortably but lost 21-9 at home to an Indianapolis team who have struggled in their other games.

They signed off before the break by beating Green Bay 31-17, clearly the best of their three performances but not necessarily enough to fancy them to topple the free-scoring Saints.

The home side have scored 40, 21, 43 and 33 points in their four games with Brees throwing eight touchdown passes and no interceptions.

And their offensive hand is strengthened this week with Mark Ingram returning after serving a four-game suspension. The speedy Alvin Kamara should still lead the way on the ground but the more powerful Ingram is a useful asset, while Michael Thomas is Brees's top target and has three TD catches already.

Washington look a mid-division team with Alex Smith taking over at QB from Kirk Cousins this season, but veteran running back Adrian Peterson has looked to have far more juice left in his legs than might have been expected.

Even so, the Saints won't be happy to let anyone put a downer on Brees's big night and they should be able to shake off Washington to score a clear win.

New Orleans -5.5
1pt 10-11 general

The lowdown

Venue Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans
Vegas handicap 
Washington +6
Vegas points line 

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Team news

Wide receiver Josh Doctson (heel), guard Shawn Lauvao (calf) and safety Troy Apke (hamstring) are injury doubts.

New Orleans
Wide receiver Ted Ginn (knee) is the biggest injury concern for the Saints. offensive linemen Andrus Peat (ankle) and Terron Armstead (knee) should be able to play. Running back Mark Ingram is set to return after a four-game suspension.

Key stat
New Orleans have won 15 of their last 20 games.

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The home side have scored 40, 21, 43 and 33 points in their four games with Brees throwing eight touchdown passes and no interceptions
E.W. Terms
Sky bet