fb-pixelSaints 34, Patriots 0: Another ugly loss drops New England to 1-4 Skip to main content
Live updates

Patriots shut out in an ugly loss to Saints that drops them to 1-4

The Patriots did not score in the first half on Sunday.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Another week, another ugly loss for the Patriots.

The New Orleans Saints took a three-touchdown lead by halftime and maintained complete control from there for a 34-0 victory over the Patriots on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

It was the second straight blowout loss for New England, which was crushed by the Dallas Cowboys, 38-3, a week ago. The Patriots are 1-4.

Quarterback Mac Jones completed 12 of 22 passes for 110 yards before he was replaced in the fourth quarter by backup Bailey Zappe. Jones threw two interceptions, and one was returned for a touchdown. Zappe completed 3 of 9 passes for 22 yards.

Advertisement



After the game, coach Bill Belichick was asked if Jones would remain the Patriots’ quarterback.

“Yeah, there were a lot of problems, it certainly wasn’t all him,” Belichick replied.

The Patriots have not scored a touchdown since tight end Pharaoh Brown’s 58-yard catch-and-run in a Week 3 win over the Jets, New England’s only victory.

“It’s tough. We put a lot into it each week, and to go out there and not put your best foot forward is tough,” Patriots center David Andrews said.

The Patriots were averaging 13.8 points per game entering Sunday and had only six touchdowns in four games. They have been outscored 72-3 in their last two games, and 131-55 this season.

“I don’t know anything else to do but to come back to work and work hard ... and try to put our best performance out there Sunday,” Andrews said.

The Saints (3-2) only had five touchdowns entering the game and were averaging just 15.5 points, but erupted against the Patriots.

The Saints took a 7-0 lead on safety Tyrann Mathieu’s 27-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Saints made it 14-0 on Alvin Kamara’s 2-yard run and then reached 21-0 on Chris Olave’s 5-yard touchdown reception.

Advertisement



The Saints added a pair of field goals by rookie Blake Group and a 6-yard touchdown reception by Foster Moreau in the second half.

The Patriots had three players leave the game with injuries – receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (head), offensive lineman Mike Onwenu (ankle), and receiver Demario Douglas (head).

The Patriots play the Raiders in Las Vegas next Sunday.

“It’s not how we want to play football, not how we want to do things,” Patriots tight end Hunter Henry said. “We just have to be better. I don’t know if I have the answers for you now, but we have to find the answers very fast.”


Click here to refresh | Patriots-Saints box score | NFL scoreboard | Read more Patriots stories | Sign up for our Patriots newsletter

What Mac Jones said — 5:16 p.m.

Mac Jones didn’t have much to say after Sunday’s 34-0 loss to the Saints, in which the third-year Patriots quarterback was benched mid-game for the second consecutive week.

“Just got to look at the film and get better,” Jones said, a message he’d repeat throughout his postgame press conference. “Got to do a lot of things better to win in these games.

“For us, just like I said, we’ve got to do better, all three phases, definitely the offense not putting up any points. Got to improve in all areas, and it’s hard, we don’t want to score zero points, it’s not the goal.”

Advertisement



Read more here.

Andrews: ‘Kind of the same old story’ — 4:40 p.m.

After a second embarrassing home loss in as many weeks, center David Andrews was the first Patriot to speak as usual, and he was visibly deflated on the podium Sunday.

“Wasn’t good enough,” Andrews said succinctly. “Turnovers ... Kind of the same old story.

“I think you’ve just got to go back to, starting over. Go back to the fundamentals and keep it in the simplest form. It’s tough. [We] put a lot into it each week, and to go out there and not put your best foot forward on Sunday is tough. Going to come in, get back to work, that’s all I really know [how] to do.”

Read more of Andrews’s postgame comments here.

Instant analysis: Belichick gave up — 4:23 p.m.

The Patriots still have 12 games to play. But let the record show coach Bill Belichick gave up on his team with 9:55 remaining in the third quarter of Sunday’s game.

It’s one thing to build a boring, deficient football team that gets blown off the field each Sunday. But Belichick made an unconscionable decision against the Saints to waive the white flag early in the third quarter — sending in the punt team on fourth and 3 from the Saints’ 40-yard line while trailing, 24-0.

This was beyond being conservative, as Belichick usually is on fourth down. This was Belichick throwing in the towel. This was Belichick telling the world he doesn’t believe in his players, and doesn’t feel like trying anymore, even with 24 minutes remaining.

Advertisement



Read Ben Volin’s full analysis of Sunday’s game here.

New Orleans tacks on a field goal — 3:44 p.m.

Blake Grupe drills it from 54 yards, and all that’s left to settle now is whether this will be the worst loss of Belichick’s career, or if it’ll fall just short of last week’s disaster in Dallas. The Patriots are fortunate to have not allowed another touchdown. Chris Olave looked to be in the end zone on a long completion down the left sideline, but couldn’t maintain control of the ball as he hit the ground.

Everything is going wrong for Patriots — 3:40 p.m.

Bailey Zappe had a chance for a big completion with Kendrick Bourne wide open on a deep crossing route, but sailed his throw on third down. Rhamondre Stevenson went nowhere on fourth and 1, and the Saints get the ball back with a chance to add insult to injury from the Patriots’ 33 with less than 7 minutes to go in the fourth quarter.

Patriots turn to Bailey Zappe at QB — 3:27 p.m.

That’ll do it for Mac Jones; he went 12 of 22 for 110 yards and two interceptions, and Bailey Zappe takes over at quarterback. It doesn’t start much better for him, as Zappe overthrew an open Hunter Henry on third and 4 for another three and out and Bryce Baringer’s seventh punt. Per the CBS broadcast, that drive was the Patriots’ 30th possession in a row without a touchdown.

Saints lead grows again — 3:23 p.m.

Saints 31, Patriots 0 | 13:10 fourth quarter

Last week’s record-setting loss — the worst of Bill Belichick’s coaching career — could be under threat now. Derek Carr flips it to tight end Foster Moreau for a 6-yard touchdown, and it’s 31-0 Saints.

Advertisement



Third-quarter analysis: Patriots appear lifeless — 3:20 p.m.

Three quarters are done here in Foxborough, and the Patriots trail the Saints, 24-0.

• The third quarter wasn’t as bad as the first two — of course, at this point, it’s all relative. A 21-0 halftime deficit only grew to 24-0 on a 54-yard field goal from Blake Grupe. But it’s a lifeless, listless New England team at this point, one that shows little chance of a mounting a comeback.

• The Patriots had their longest pass play of the day early in the third when Jones found Kendrick Bourne for a 28-yard connection that got New England into New Orleans territory. The Patriots couldn’t build on that momentum, and ended up punting from the Saints’ 40, a move that felt an awful lot like Bill Belichick waving the white flag on this one.

• The chants for Bailey Zappe have been sporadic throughout the afternoon.

• Pop Douglas, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Mike Onwenu have all been ruled out.

• The lone defensive highlight was perhaps a sack from Myles Bryant that ended up forcing the Saints to kick a field goal.

More bad luck for Patriots — 3:18 p.m.

Can’t blame Mac Jones for this one, but it’s another interception. Jones hit Ty Montgomery over the middle for a 21-yard gain, but Jordan Howden jarred it loose before Montgomery could secure control and Pete Warner picked it out of the air to give the Saints excellent field position again.

Patriots lose three to injuries — 3:15 p.m.

Some injury updates: Receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster (head) and Demario Douglas (head )have both been declared out; guard Mike Onwenu (ankle) is also out; linebacker Jabrill Peppers (TBA) has gone to the locker room.

It’s the same old story — 3:05 p.m.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a run went nowhere, Mac Jones was nearly picked, and Bryce Baringer punted after a three and out. The boos are coming down in Foxborough with 6:39 left in the third quarter.

Another drive, another punt — 2:57 p.m.

Mac Jones got the Patriots over midfield quickly with a 28-yard toss to Kendrick Bourne, but that was all. Jones couldn’t find JuJu Smith-Schuster on third and 3 — New England is now 1 for 9 on third down — and Bryce Baringer punts for the fifth time today.

• Remember Pharoah Brown’s 58-yard touchdown catch early in the second quarter against the Jets? That’s the Patriots’ last offensive touchdown. – Finn

• It’s 4th and 3, you’re on the Saints’ 40, you’re down 24-0, and you punt? Belichick has given up. – Volin

Saints add field goal — 2:49 p.m.

Saints 24, Patriots 0 | 11:40 third quarter

Blake Grupe’s 54-yard field goal capped a seven-play drive on the Saints’ possession following a fumble recovery. Grupe is a rookie.

The Patriots’ defense held firm, keeping New Orleans to just a field goal after the Saints started the drive at the New England 29. Myles Bryant’s sack pushed the Saints back to the 34.

Patriots turn it over again — 2:47 p.m.

In case you thought things couldn’t get worse — the Patriots lined up like they were going for the Eagles’ patented “tush push” on third and 1, but opted for a toss to Rhamondre Stevenson instead. Stevenson couldn’t handle the pitch from Mac Jones, the Saints recovered, and Derek Carr and Co. are in excellent field position to make it a four-score game.

Can the Patriots rally? — 2:45 p.m.

• Three defensive touchdowns and the Pats are right back in this. – Finn

Halftime analysis — 2:32 p.m.

Two quarters are in the books here at Gillette Stadium, and the Patriots trail 21-0.

Stats leaders: Mac Jones 8-for-15, 72 yards, 1 INT; Rhamondre Stevenson 4 carries, 16 yards; Demario Douglas 1 catch, 2 targets, 24 yards; Derek Carr 11-for-15, 139 yards, 1 TD; Alvin Kamara: 11 carries, 42 yards, 1 TD; 2 catches, 2 targets, 5 yards

• After a week of talking about how to make amends for what happened last week in Dallas, very little heart or grit or whatever you want to call it was seen in the first half. In fact, much of the first two quarters played out as an extension of what happened against the Cowboys; listless, occasionally sloppy football. The Patriots had no answers in all three phases of the game.

• The punchless New England offense went scoreless in the first half. It marked the fifth straight game where the Patriots — who had six first-quarter points through the first four games — did not score a touchdown. (Their last first-quarter touchdown came in last year’s regular-season finale against the Bills.) In all, the Patriots have now gone eight quarters without scoring a touchdown — the last one came in the second quarter of Week 3 against the Jets.

• The tone was established early. With New England sitting on second-and-2 on its opening drive, Jones threw two bad balls, setting up a Bryce Baringer punt. Jones heard plenty of boos when he came to the sideline. It got worse on the second series, as Jones was hit as he threw on a third-down offering. It ended up in the hands of Tyrann Mathieu, who took it back 25 yards for the first score of the game.

• The New England offense mostly used three-receiver sets to open the game, with Kendrick Bourne, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and DeVante Parker, along with Pharaoh Brown at tight end and Rhamondre Stevenson at running back. They did alter the look soon after, adding Hunter Henry, and later, Mike Gesicki, and taking Bourne off the field. But regardless of personnel, very little seemed to work for the Patriots, who averaged an anemic 2.9 yards per play.

• One thing that seemed to provide a little life was a quick-strike passing game midway through the second quarter where Jones went for immediate throws to the likes of Stevenson and Smith-Schuster. But any gains made there soon evaporated, as New England ended up punting the ball away.

• In the first quarter, Shaun Wade had a well-executed pass breakup on a ball intended for Michael Thomas. Shortly after that, Ja’Whaun Bentley had the first sack of the game, a nine-yarder where he came straight up the middle to take down Carr. Those were probably the closest thing New England had to a defensive highlight through the first two quarters.

• J.C. Jackson saw his first action on New England’s second defensive series, working in relief of Jonathan Jones. There was a combination of Jackson, Jones, and Bryant as the three primary corners to start the day, with Wade working in throughout the early going.

• The New England pass defense was helped by some New Orleans’ drops in the first quarter, but the Saints started sizzling late in the first with multiple connections from Carr to his receivers that went for 20-plus yards, setting up a 2-yard run from Kamara with 14:23 left in the half to make it 14-0. Carr then engineered his second scoring drive of the day, one that was capped by a 5-yard pass play to Chris Olave that made it 21-0 with just over 10 minutes left in the second quarter.

• Demario Douglas (head) is questionable to return.

• Two things worth noting when it came to special teams: 1. a 48-yard field goal attempt from Chad Ryland was wide left. And 2. Jabrill Peppers made an ill-advised decision on a first-quarter punt return that appeared to earn him a talking to on the sidelines from Troy Brown. (He also came close to losing the handle on a second-quarter punt return before he alertly batted the ball out of bounds.)

• The Patriots will get the ball to start the second half.

Price

Promising drive snuffed — 2:27 p.m.

The offense finally looked to have some life when Mac Jones hit DeVante Parker and Kendrick Bourne each for 10-plus yards to get to the edge of field goal range, but then the pocket collapsed again. Jones tried to step up on first down and was wrapped up by Tanoh Kpassagnon for an 8-yard loss, and on third-and-14, Jones had to run for his life and Carl Granderson caught him for a 13-yard sack to end the half.

Patriots finally get a stop — 2:23 p.m.

The Patriots defense finally gets a stop. Derek Carr dropped one into the breadbasket of Chris Olave deep down the left sideline on third down, but the second-year receiver couldn’t get both feet inbounds.

Jabrill Peppers muffed the ensuing punt, but caught a break when the ball bounced out at the New England 18.

Another Patriots drive fizzles — 2:10 p.m.

No three and out this time, but another drive sputters out at midfield. A screen to JuJu Smith-Schuster and a toss right to Rhamondre Stevenson gained a combined two yards, and Mac Jones opted to throw another jump ball up for DeVante Parker. It fell incomplete again — and very much could have been intercepted — and New England punts again.

Saints find end zone again — 2:00 p.m.

Saints 21, Patriots 0 | 10:53 second quarter

The Patriots covered well downfield on the Saints’ opening play but forgot about Kendre Miller in the flat, and Miller took a Derek Carr dump-off for 33 yards to the New England 26. Four plays later, Carr found Chris Olave open in the back of the end zone, and the Saints lead, 21-0, after less than 20 minutes of football.

• Carr did a great job of looking off Kyle Dugger and getting him to lean the wrong way, freeing up Olave in the back of the end zone. – Finn

Demario Douglas (head) is questionable to return. – Price

Another three-and-out — 1:55 p.m.

It’s not getting much better for Mac Jones. He finally had a bit of time on third-and-6, but opted to toss up a jump ball for DeVante Parker, who drew plenty of contact but no flag for another three and out. Another poor punt from Bryce Baringer set up the Saints with good field position at their own 36, and it’s a tough start in all three phases for the Patriots.

• Mac is now 3 for 9 for 35 yards. Not all his fault, because he’s under siege, but his poise in the pocket has evaporated and every downfield pass is a chuck-and-pray. – Finn

• The Patriots have now gone seven quarters without scoring an offensive touchdown. Last one came against the Jets in Week 3. – Price

Saints double their lead — 1:49 p.m.

Saints 14, Patriots 0 | 14:27 second quarter

The Patriots’ habit of committing back-breaking turnovers early has also created a habit of falling into early holes. It’s more of the same today, as the Saints marched down the field in eight plays to double their lead to 14-0 just 30 seconds into the second quarter. Alvin Kamara’s 2-yard run capped the drive.

Once again, it’s already a long way back for the Patriots at home.

First-quarter analysis — 1:46 p.m.

One quarter is done in Foxborough. Here are a few first-quarter notes:

• The punchless New England offense went scoreless. It marked the fifth straight game where the Patriots — who had six first-quarter points through the first four games this season — did not score a touchdown. Their last first-quarter touchdown came in last year’s regular-season finale against the Bills.

• Mac Jones was hit on a third-down pass attempt midway through the first quarter, and the throw was redirected to New Orleans safety Tyrann Mathieu. The Honey Badger took it back 25 yards for the first touchdown of the game. There were some boos.

• The Patriots’ offensive highlight came on their third offensive series, a 24-yard completion on third down from Jones to Douglas with just under six minutes left in the first quarter. A personal foul from New Orleans — unnecessary roughness — was tacked on at the end, which got the Patriots into New Orleans territory for the first time all afternoon. It’s a small sample size, but the rookie out of Liberty remains the only offensive skill position player on the roster currently capable of making explosive plays. The bottom line is they’re a better offense when he’s on the field.

• Myles Bryant and Jonathan Jones got the start at cornerback, and J.C. Jackson rotated in throughout the first quarter, with Shaun Wade also providing depth. The Saints offense stalled until late in the quarter, when Carr found Thomas for a 26-yard connection, and followed that up with a 25-yarder to Shaheed to get into the red zone.

Patriots’ kicker misses from 48 yards — 1:39 p.m.

After the Patriots moved into Saints territory with a 24-yard completion from Mac Jones to Demario Douglas — a 39-yard gain after Marshon Lattimore lowered his shoulder into Douglas’s head – the Patriots had to settle for a field goal try when Marcus Davenport came free up the middle and forced Mac Jones to check down to Mike Gesicki short of the sticks. Chad Ryland stepped up from 48 yards and hooked it wide left.

Saints score first — 1:28 p.m.

Saints 7, Patriots 0 | 7:11 first quarter

It’s another early disaster — Mac Jones is hit as he throws, and Tyrann Mathieu snags the wobbly ball and brings it back for a pick-6.

It’s the second straight week Jones has thrown an interception that was returned for a touchdown.

• Mathieu has three previous pick-6s in his career. Doubt any were easier than that one. – Finn

• My 17-13 prediction may have been way too optimistic on the offense front. – Finn

Patriots go three-and-out — 1:20 p.m.

The Patriots’ first drive started promisingly but flamed out quickly, with an 8-yard run from Rhamondre Stevenson quickly followed by a pair of incompletions as Mac Jones missed Hunter Henry on third and 2 leading to a three-and-out.

• Every one of Mac’s throws is an alley-oop. Henry was open on third and 2, but he overthrew him with a lobbed ball when he could have zipped it in there. – Finn

Looks like J.C. Jackson is going to get some snaps here on the second defensive series. He’s on the field here during the stoppage in play. – Price

Patriots defense holds — 1:13 p.m.

New England kicked off to start the game and, despite allowing 11 plays, the defense held the Saints to just 24 yards and forced a punt. The Patriots will start their first drive at their own 5 yard line.

• Jabrill Peppers needs to let that punt bounce and roll into the end zone. Never fair catch at the 5. – Volin

• Excellent first series for Ju’Whaun Bentley, who had the third-down sack of Saints QB David Carr to stall the drive, a nice tackle on Carr’s 5-yard run, and a fundamental open-field tackle on Alvin Kamara, keeping him to 4 yards on the second play from scrimmage. – Finn

Bills lose in London — 12:56 p.m.

The Buffalo Bills fell to 3-2 with a 25-20 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Sunday’s first NFL game, which was played in London at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Buffalo was tied with Miami for first place in the AFC East at the start of the day. The Dolphins play the New York Giants at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Here is the scoring summary and statistics from Bills-Jaguars.

Who is up front for the Patriots? — 12:43 p.m.

The Patriots offensive line in warmups: LT Trent Brown, LG Atonio Mafi, C David Andrews, RG Mike Onwenu, RT Vederian Lowe

If they stick with this group to start the game, it would mark the first time this year the Patriots have had the same offensive line starting combo in back-to-back games.

Price

Finn’s predictions — 12:31 p.m.

Patriots player to watch: Other than Mac Jones, Quarterback Under The Microscope? I’d say pick your cornerback. The most enjoyable development for the Patriots this season was the instant excellence of Christian Gonzalez. Now that he’s out for the year, multiple cornerbacks are going to have to step up their games. Jonathan Jones and Chargers exile J.C. Jackson are both in today. Myles Bryant and Shaun Wade got most of the reps against Dallas. Whoever is matched up with Chris Olave on a given play is the one to watch.

Saints player to watch: Olave. Through the Saints’ first three games, he had 22 receptions for 302 yards. Last week, he had but one catch (on six targets) for 4 yards. He’s a superb route-runner who is a threat all over the field. If sore-shouldered Derek Carr can get him the ball, he should have a big day.

Prediction: Saints 17, Patriots 13. Can the Patriots win? Of course. But after the Dallas debacle, I’m officially in believe-it-only-when-I-see-it mode.

Pregame observations from Gillette Stadium — 12:18 p.m.

• Mac’s Corner has now turned into Zeke’s Corner.

• Looks like Ty Montgomery and Rhamondre Stevenson working as kick returners in warmups.

• Jabrill Peppers, Myles Bryant, and Demario Douglas working as punt returners in warmups.

• Wonder how much the sun is going to play a role this afternoon. Not a lot of clouds ... it’s a bright day. Punt returns at the lighthouse end of the stadium might be a little dicey.

Price

Price’s predictions — 11:59 a.m.

Patriots player to watch: Mac Jones. Can the quarterback bounce back after last week’s debacle?

Saints players to watch: Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara. The versatile duo present a unique series of challenges for the New England defense.

Prediction: The Patriots squeak one out, 17-14.

Analyzing the Patriots’ inactives list — 11:47 a.m.

The Patriots have just announced their inactives. Here’s a look at the list and what their absences mean:

Outside linebacker Matthew Judon (elbow) is no surprise, as the veteran underwent surgery this week for an injury he suffered in last week’s loss to Dallas. However, there is apparently some belief he might be able to return before the end of the season. That means he’s still part of the injury report each week, and will be one of the inactives every gameday until he’s good to go.

Cole Strange (knee) is officially inactive this afternoon. The left guard, who has been dealing with a knee issue sustained in the first padded practice of the summer, hasn’t played since the Week 3 win over the Jets. There are multiple possibilities to fill his shoes at left guard, but rookie Atonio Mafi might be the likeliest candidate; he started at that spot last week against the Cowboys.

Wide receiver Kayshon Boutte is a healthy scratch again. As we’ve mentioned over the last two-plus weeks, the rookie appears to be ticketed as this year’s redshirt rookie. (See James White, Trey Flowers, and others.) He hasn’t played since the opener against the Eagles.

In addition, offensive tackles Calvin Anderson and Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. are healthy scratches. And Will Grier is the emergency quarterback.

Among the notable actives include cornerback Jonathan Jones, who missed three straight games with an ankle issue. He will likely be teamed with J.C. Jackson, who returned to Foxborough this week and participated in practice on Thursday and Friday. Jackson has been dealing with a knee issue of his own — he had a big ice bag on his right knee after Friday’s practice — but should be part of the cornerback conversation today.

In addition, veteran tackle Trent Brown popped up on the injury report late in the week with a chest injury, but is good to go today. Sunday could mark the debut of Riley Reiff, who went on IR this summer but started practicing this week. Reiff showed some positional versatility this summer, playing both guard and tackle, which means he could possibly step in at the right guard spot if the Patriots feel Mike Onwenu might be better suited to right tackle.

– Chris Price

Inactives — 11:30 a.m.

Patriots: LB Matthew Judon, G Cole Strange, WR Kayshon Boutte, T Tyrone Wheatley, T Calvin Anderson, QB Will Grier (emergency third QB designation)

Saints: QB Jake Luton, WR A.T. Perry, CB Lonnie Johnson, T Landon Young, G Andrus Peat, TE Juwan Johnson, DE Kyle Phillips.

Report: J.C. Jackson expected to be active — 11:12 a.m.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, newly acquired cornerback J.C. Jackson will be active for the game. Jackson, whom the Patriots traded for on Monday, spent four seasons with the Patriots from 2018 to 2021.

Update: Jackson was not on the Patriots’ inactives list.

Meet the Saints playmakers — 11:00 a.m.

WR Chris Olave: One of the many recent products of the wide receiver factory at Ohio State, Olave had an excellent rookie season in 2022, breaking the 1,000-yard barrier in his debut campaign, and is off to a strong start in ‘23 with 23 catches and 306 yards through four games. He’s the favorite option of Saints QB Derek Carr with a team-high 38 targets through four games.

QB Derek Carr: After injuring his throwing shoulder in a Week 3 loss to Green Bay, Carr suited up against the Buccaneers in Week 4 and is expected to do so again Sunday. Carr joined the Saints in the offseason after nine years with the Raiders, and was expected to be an upgrade over New Orleans’ recent signal-callers Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston. After a strong start to the season with 305 yards and a touchdown toss in the opener against the Titans, Carr has struggled with a compromised shoulder, going 23 for 37 for just 127 yards in last Sunday’s blowout loss to Tampa Bay.

RB Alvin Kamara: The five-time Pro Bowler, long one of the league’s most dangerous threats in the run game and as a receiver out of the backfield, returned last week after missing the first three games with a suspension stemming from an incident at last year’s Pro Bowl. He struggled along with the rest of the offense in a Week 4 loss to the Buccaneers, but his dual-threat presence will be one of the focal points for Bill Belichick’s defensive gameplan on Sunday.

Betting lines — 10:45 a.m.

The Patriots are home favorites for the first time this season, with the point spread settling at -1.5 in favor of New England after shifting throughout the week. That small margin is reflected in the moneyline, with the Patriots listed around -120 at most sportsbooks ahead of kickoff.

The prognosticators aren’t expecting much of a shootout in Foxborough; the total has landed at over/under 39.5.

Here are the odds for all of this week’s NFL games.

Injury report — 10:30 a.m.

With Christian Gonzalez and Matthew Judon out for the long term, the Patriots will hope their slew of uncertainties on defense are ready for kickoff. Defensive tackles Christian Barmore (knee) and Davon Godchaux (ankle), linebacker Trey Flowers (foot), and defensive backs Cody Davis (knee), Shaun Wade (shoulder), and Jonathan Jones (ankle) were all listed as questionable on the week’s final injury report, each having been limited in practice throughout the week.

It’s not much better on the offense, where tackle Trent Brown (chest), guard Cole Strange (knee), and running back Rhamondre Stevenson (thigh) were all limited in practice at some point this week and are also listed as questionable.

Weather looks good — 10:15 a.m.

It’s a perfect afternoon for football in Foxborough, with sunny skies and temperatures expected in the low 60s throughout the day. After a rainy Saturday in New England, there is no threat of rain expected on Sunday.

Patriots-Saints history — 10:00 a.m.

The Patriots have faced the Saints 15 times, beginning with a Patriots victory in December of 1972. New England leads the series, 10-5.

The last time the teams met, New Orleans defeated New England, 28-13, in September of 2021. The Patriots managed just two field goals and a fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Mac Jones to Kendrick Bourne.

How to watch/listen — 9:45 a.m.

Sunday’s game will be televised by CBS (Channel 4 in the Boston area). Kevin Harlan is the play-by-play announcer and Trent Green is the color analyst with Melanie Collins on sideline duty.

This week’s game will be broadcast to a national audience by Compass Media Networks, while 98.5 The Sports Hub has the local radio coverage.



Amin Touri can be reached at amin.touri@globe.com. Christopher Price can be reached at christopher.price@globe.com. Follow him @cpriceglobe. Chad Finn can be reached at chad.finn@globe.com. Follow him @GlobeChadFinn. Matt Pepin can be reached at matt.pepin@globe.com. Ben Volin can be reached at ben.volin@globe.com.