Saints vs Dolphins: Who are the experts picking in Week 16?

New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Saints continue their playoff hopes in Week 16 against the Miami Dolphins. Almost all NFL experts are favoring the black and gold.

Then again, in shocking news, Sean Payton recently named rookie Ian Book as the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game.

Take these expert predictions with a heaping of salt since everyone was expecting Taysom Hill to start against the Dolphins.

Book playing for NOLA will likely change many people’s picks, as the game was already predicted to be a close matchup.

Both the Saints and the Dolphins are playing for their shot at the playoffs. Miami has put together an impressive string of wins recently but notably against lower-ranked teams. New Orleans is coming off a huge high after their victory against the Bucs, but the offense still hasn’t figured out how to move the ball down the field. At all.

With the inexperienced Book under center in the first start of his NFL career, the Saints’ offensive woes will probably be even worse.

Here’s what the experts have to say about Week 16:

Expert picks for New Orleans Saints vs. Miami Dolphins

Again, none of these experts expected Ian Book to start for NOLA, so these predictions may not accurately reflect their current opinions.

Kenyon of Bleacher Report gives the best reason as to why the Saints can stop a red-hot Miami team:

"The Dolphins are one of the hottest teams in the league, reeling off six straight wins. But five of those wins have come against the Texans, Jets (two times), Giants and Panthers. Not exactly worldbeaters. They face one of the league’s best defenses in the Saints, who are coming off a shutout win over Brady and the Buccaneers."

Even before hearing the Ian Book news, Hyde of the Sun Sentinel is the lone wolf among analysts, writing:

"Do the Dolphins have enough mistake-free offense against a good Saints defense? Sure. As long as the Dolphins defense plays like it has through most of its recent stretch. The Dolphins win a low-scoring affair."

Week 16 remains a tough matchup to predict, and it could turn into another slog like Saints-Bucs. In this defensive-minded game, New Orleans has the upper hand — Cam Jordan, Demario Davis, and others could yet again play a perfect game to shut out the Dolphins’ Tua.

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Ian Book starting on Sunday will be a game-changer, though, and many NFL experts may flip to Miami after finding that out. It certainly makes this matchup much closer than it already was.