The penultimate "Monday Night Football" game of the season has absolutely no value in the grand scheme of things between losing teams Detroit and New Orleans. But, hey, you can profit from it.
It really would benefit both clubs to lose out. Detroit (4-9) would pick seventh in the 2016 draft were it held today, although obviously it has played one fewer game than every other team but New Orleans. The better the draft pick, perhaps bigger-name coach the team could hire this offseason. There's seemingly no way that current coach Jim Caldwell is back because ownership already has cleaned out the front office this season. One name you hear as a potential replacement is current Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase because he's good with quarterbacks and Matthew Stafford has regressed some this year. The Saints (5-8), who currently are at No. 8 in the draft order, aren't going to fire the highly-regarded Sean Payton but it seems his time in the Big Easy is likely coming to an end. The Saints, who were preseason favorites on NFL odds to win the NFC South, are going to finish with a non-winning record and miss the playoffs for the third time in the past four years. Expect to see Payton traded -- yes, traded -- this offseason. The Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins should be top suitors.
Drew Brees 26.5 Completions, 295.5 Yards, 2.5 TD Passes, .5 INTs
Brees ranks second in the NFL in averaging 316 yards per game and has 25 touchdown passes and 11 picks, so another Pro Bowl-caliber season. Three of the Saints’ five wins this season were games where Brees did not throw an interception. But the Saints do have bit of a decision to make as Brees is 36, carries a mammoth $30 million cap charge for next season and the Saints are pretty clearly rebuilding. New Orleans would save $20 million by releasing him. I'm not saying that would happen, but I do think it's conceivable Brees could be traded. Including a 2011 postseason game, the Saints are 4-1 against the Lions with Brees and he has had at least two touchdowns and 342 yards in each game. As for the Detroit defense, it was terrible to start the season and still not great but has improved as the season has gone on. The Lions ranked seventh in points per game allowed during Weeks 10-14 after ranking last previously. Better tackling has helped them limit their past five opponents to 4.2 yards after the catch per reception, down from 6.4 before that.
Free NFL Picks: 'Over' all. Saints haven't been able to run the ball too consistently, so I expect Brees to attempt at least 45 passes on Monday Night Football.
Matthew Stafford O/U 24.5 Completions, 285.5 Yards, 2 TDs, .5 INTs
You hear some talk that Stafford could be on the trade market this season, and there would be plenty of suitors for the strong-armed 27-year-old former No. 1 overall pick. But no doubt Stafford's numbers have slumped this season. He's on pace for 4,196 passing yards, which would be a career low for a full season. Stafford is averaging just 3.09 yards through the air per attempt, which ranks 31st among starting quarterbacks. That seems impossible with weapons like Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. Last year in comeback win over New Orleans at Ford Field, Stafford was 27-for-40 for 299 yards, two touchdowns and two picks. He has been historically much better at home than on the road. He has only one 300-yard road game this season and nine total TDs with seven picks (15/6 at home).
Free NFL Picks: 'Over' all. That this is in a dome helps Stafford's cause and I expect a shootout so he will be throwing a lot as well. Detroit is the worst running team in the NFL so it has little choice. Keep that in mind for your NFL picks.
Calvin Johnson O/U 5.5 Catches, 85.5 Receiving Yards
"Megatron" is showing signs of age. The 30-year-old Johnson has just 60 yards receiving the past two games, including just one catch for 16 yards in a loss against St. Louis last week. Johnson is averaging 13.8 yards per catch, a career low. Johnson is listed as questionable for this game but has been questionable for weeks and continued to play. There's a pretty decent chance the Lions move on from Johnson this offseason; he's going to have to renegotiate his deal to stay. Currently he counts about $24 million against the cap for 2016, which is way too much.
Free NFL Picks: 'Over' both. New Orleans has allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 66.7 percent of their passes for 3,624 yards, a league-high 36 touchdowns and just six interceptions. That amounts to a passer rating against of 114.4, which would be the worst in league history.