The best rivalry in the NFC South will be featured on Monday Night Football in Week 3. The New Orleans Saints face the Atlanta Falcons on the 26th at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. That’s not to be confused with the new Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, which, if you haven’t heard, has very cheap beer now. Last year, the Saints swept the Falcons. The year before, Atlanta swept the Saints. New Orleans is 3-point favorite over the Falcons on Sports Interaction’s NFL betting lines.
New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons
Point spread: Saints -3
Date: Monday, September 26, 2016
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, New Orleans
New Orleans Saints
The season has just started and it’s already been a heart-wrenching one for the Saints. They are winless in 2, but both of those losses were close and came down to just a couple of points against both the Giants and the Raiders.
The issue doesn’t appear to be completely to do with the Saints lackluster defense, who actually looked okay against the Giants, but with Drew Brees, who only passed for 263 yards and a touchdown and got sacked twice. Their run game didn’t look great either, and only resulted in 41 yards. Mark Ingram got 30 of those on nine carries, which he’ll need to vastly improve on against the Falcons.
New Orleans are the second worst team in the NFL so far this year in total defense with 451.5 yards allowed per game. After the game against the Giants, Drew Brees spoke to the media about the loss, saying “I would say we just got a little bit of late start last week. We’re obviously better than that. We did some good things, but it was probably just too late. We had some opportunities that we kind of squandered; that can’t happen. We understand we’ve got to make the most of every opportunity, regardless of whether you’re home or away.”
The Falcons are 1-1 this season, and that win against the Raiders was a close one that had everything to do with QB Matt Ryan‘s performance. He threw a redirected eight-yard touchdown pass to Justin Hardy to win the game, after getting 396 passing yards on 26 of 34 completions with three TD passes and an interception. Backup safety Kemal Ishmael also had a highlight-reel game, recording 13 tackles. Rookie safety Keanu Neal is expected to return for the game against the Saints.
Atlanta needs this win to keep momentum going, since they have the hardest schedule out of all the teams in the league this year based on win/loss records from the 2015 season. They are currently listed as the underdogs in this matchup. The Saints have been good at beating Atlanta at home, winning four of the past five meetings, including last season’s 31-21 victory.
Atlanta can win this one if they can mitigate turnovers and get some good run plays out of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. If Matt Ryan looks anything like he did last week, it’ll be hard for the porous New Orleans defense to do much to stop him. That said, one great game does not an elite quarterback make, which is why the Saints are favored to take this one at home.
Saints vs. Falcons Prediction