The New Orleans Saints are favored by 3 1/2 points on the road against the New York Giants.
The over/under point total in Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey is 50 1/2.
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But the number I’m most interested in is 418.
That’s how many passing yards Saints quarterback Drew Brees needs to surpass Peyton Manning and become the NFL’s all-time leader.
Brees (71,523) currently ranks No. 3, behind Manning (71,940) and Kiln-native Brett Favre (71,838). I have full confidence that Brees will be No. 2 by nightfall Sunday.
I’m less certain he’ll eclipse Manning against the Giants. In fact, from a purely selfish standpoint, I hope No. 9 saves that special moment for the sellout crowd that will gather Monday night (Oct. 8) to watch the Saints play the Washington Redskins in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
It would be a perfect setting for Brees to get the record.
On friendly turf, on a national stage, with a revved-up fan base dressed for the occasion hanging on every yard.
Of course, the flow of Sunday’s against the G-Men will dictate how many passing yards Brees ultimately will accumulate when all is said and done. The object is to win the game and if that means Brees has to fling it around the yard 40 to 50 times, then so be it.
But that likely would mean the Saints are trailing and forced to play catch up on the road outdoors. Sunday’s forecast sounds Saints friendly — high of 71, no rain, 6 mph wind, 60 percent humidity.
Keep in mind, the Black and Gold are not at their best when Coach Sean Payton has to abandon the run and go one dimensional, putting Brees in constant passing mode and in harm’s way against a pass rush. Few teams are.
The Saints’ record when Brees passes for at least 400 yards bears this out.
Since coming to New Orleans in 2006, the Saints are 8-8 when Brees hits the 400-yard mark, including 0-1 this season when he threw for 439 yards in a 48-40 season-opening loss at home to Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Brees was brilliant in defeat, completing 37 of 45 passes for 439 yards with three TDs and zero INTs for a stellar 129.5 passer rating.
So the number for me is 418 on Sunday — the number of passing yards Brees needs to eclipse Manning — not the 3 1/2-point spread or 50 1/2 total.
And I’ll take under 418 for a Saints win and a 3-1 record going into a new month.