NFL Betting: Are Drew Brees' Best Days Behind Him?
Drew Brees enters his 20th season in the NFL as one of the most prolific passers in league history. The 41-year-old is the NFL's all-time leader for passing yards (77,416), averaging 4,677 yards per season over the last decade.
And yet, FanDuel Sportsbook has Brees' over/under at a modest 4,049.5 yards. Despite his amazing career numbers, he hasn't eclipsed 4,000 passing yards or played a full season since 2017.
At -112 odds, let's take a look at his yardage prop and see whether he can surpass the 4,049.5 yards mark for the first time in two seasons.
The Saints Come Marching In
Brees has one of his best supporting casts in recent years entering the 2020 season, but the question is, will it be enough?
New Orleans signed Emmanuel Sanders this offseason after his 10th season in the league and third Super Bowl appearance. Sanders brings a dynamic the Saints have lacked with Ted Ginn Jr. as the No. 2 wide receiver for the last two seasons. Sanders bounced back tremendously for the Broncos and 49ers following an achilles injury he suffered in December of 2018.
The Saints' No. 1 option, Michael Thomas, set an NFL record with 149 receptions last season, breaking Marvin Harrison's single-season record of 143. Impressively, Thomas did so with three different quarterbacks, too. He's had three straight seasons of 104 receptions or more and at least 1,245 yards.
Running back Alvin Kamara may have an even more impressive streak going, posting 81 receptions in each of his first three seasons in the league. After missing two games and being banged up most of last year, Kamara had a career-low 533 receiving yards, but he should be able to bounce back in 2020.
Having these weapons will be great for Brees, but he hasn't tossed 4,000 yards since 2017, breaking a streak of 12 straight years hitting that mark dating back to 2006, his first year in New Orleans. In 2018, Brees threw for 3,992 yards in 15 games, and in 2019, he recorded his lowest passing yard total since 2003 (2,108). Injuries typically haven't been much of a problem for him, but the 19-year veteran missed five games last season due to a thumb injury after missing just one game due to injury in his entire 14-year tenure with the Saints.
The Dome Effect
New Orleans has the ninth-easiest strength of schedule for 2020 but faces four playoff teams from a year ago at home. The Saints' home games include the 49ers, Packers, Chiefs, Chargers, and Vikings, in addition to their loaded division opponents. Excluding the Chargers and Panthers, they could potentially play six playoff teams at home, and Brees has gained a majority of his yards in the Superdome.
Brees totaled 1,997 passing yards (332.8 per game) in six home games last season. On the road, that number dropped to 944 yards (236.0) in the four healthy games he played. For a bigger sample size, he threw for 1,524 yards (190.5) in his eight road games of 2018, compared to 2,251 yards (321.6) in seven home games. 2017 was more of the same for Brees, too, as he threw for 1,788 yards on the road and 2,546 at home.
On the road, he's clearly declined the last few seasons, and with his home schedule being much tougher this year, this will be Brees' most challenging season yet.
I'll have to take the under on Brees' passing total of 4,050 yards for 2020. When considering the strength of schedule, his age, and the obvious decline on the road compared to at home -- it's a lot to overcome. Brees is also averaging fewer pass attempts (34.4 per game in 2019) and throwing deep less often. He ranked 19th in 2018 with 57 deep balls (3.8 per game) and finished 30th last season with 33 (3.0 per game). Add in Brees suffering an injury setback last season, and there are too many negatives to consider him a lock to record his 13th 4,000-yard season at 41 years old.