The Atlanta Falcons are currently 5-0 and are likely to pick up another win as they face the 1-4 New Orleans Saints on Thursday Night Football. The Falcons have gotten off to a quick start this season but has had the benefit of an easy schedule both due to playing in a weak NFC South division as well as a softer schedule. They’ll face yet another struggling team in the Saints, who have been in a free fall this season, unable to get the offensive production they’re used to, while suffering the same bad defensive play as the past few seasons. The point spread is currently favoring the Atlanta Falcons at -3.5
Thursday Night Football: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
Point Spread: Falcons -3.5 Over/under: 51 Date: Thursday, October 15 8:25pm ET Location:Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
The -3.5 favorite Falcons are finding success on offense this year, gaining an average of 280 yards per game through the air and 126 yards rushing per game. The reason for Atlanta’s success is the improved offensive line play, allowing Matt Ryan time to find Julio Jones downfield. The rushing game has been a pleasant surprise with Devonta Freeman becoming a break out star. Between these three key players, the Saints 23rd ranked defense will be quickly overwhelmed.
Being undefeated, the defense has been getting praise for its great improvement this season, but they have yet to face an elite offense. In the Saints, they’ll need to apply pressure to quarterback Drew Brees, who struggles when facing the rush up the middle. If they can bottle up the passing game, they should get off the field with relative ease, as New Orleans has yet to find the answer in the backfield, getting just 85 yards per game from their running backs.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints are going to struggle against the Falcons, who are currently hitting it on all cylinders. The secondary will have a tough time matching up with Julio Jones, who is arguably the best deep threat in the league. Even if they’re able to slow Jones down, they’ll need to find a way to shore up their run defense, which is ranked 31st in the league, giving up 135 yards per game. This game could be a disaster for one of the worst defenses in the league.
Against the Falcons, the offensive success comes down to Drew Brees. The Saints have had issues in pass protection which hasn’t allowed Brees to find receivers downfield. Atlanta’s untested defense could be surprised this week, as Brees managed 335 yards through the air and found a rhythm with receivers Willie Snead and Brandin Cooks. If New Orleans can find a way to work the ball downfield and spread the Falcons defense out, they have the opportunity to put up enough points to keep pace and potentially get the win.
Thursday Night Football Prediction
This game will come down to which defense can play better. While the Falcons have yet to face a prolific passer like Brees, they’re playing better and bottling up offenses better than the 3.5 underdog Saints. This game could be a high scoring affair with two quarterbacks that like to throw it deep. With the Falcons having the better playmakers on offense, the win is likely to go to the visiting team.