Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
Monday, September 26, 2016, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans, Louisiana
Opening Line: New Orleans -3 (-120)
Current Line: New Orleans -2 1/2 (-115)
Opening Total: 52 1/2
Current Total: 53 1/2
Opening Money Line: Saints -160 / Falcons +140
Current Money Line: Saints -140 / Falcons +120
Ten years after the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons reopened the Superdome after the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, the two rivals meet again on Monday night in New Orleans. The Falcons are 1-1 and the Saints are 0-2. If the Falcons win they will be alone in first place in the NFC South, but if the Saints win then there will be a four way tie for the division lead at 1-2.
Atlanta leads the series 49-45 against New Orleans. The Saints have won four of the last six games in the series including sweeps in 2013 and last year. The Saints won at home 31-21 and in Atlanta 20-17. The teams will close out the regular season on New Year’s Day in Atlanta.
Atlanta is coached by Dan Quinn. The Falcons lost at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-24 in week one and last week beat the Oakland Raiders 35-28 on the road. The Falcons were four point underdogs at the Raiders and the total was 47.5. Atlanta is 1-1 ATS and the over is 2-0 this season.
New Orleans is coached by Sean Payton. The Saints lost at home to the Raiders 35-34 in week one and lost at the New York Giants 16-13 last week. New York was a 3.5 point favorite and the total was 54. The Saints are 1-1 ATS and the total is 1-1 this season.
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Atlanta is both scoring and allowing 29.5 points per game. The Falcons are #2 in scoring and #29 in points allowed. Atlanta averages 451 yards per game on offense including 356 passing yards and 96 rushing yards. On defense, Atlanta allows 413 yards per game including 290 passing and 123 rushing yards. The Falcons are 9/25 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 9/23. Atlanta has forced one sack and allowed four this season. The Falcons are even in turnovers.
Quarterback Matt Ryan has completed 72.6% of his passes for 730 yards with 5 touchdowns and an interception, plus 3 carries for 10 yards.
Running back Devonta Freeman has 28 carries for 113 yards and also has 4 catches for 20 yards. Tevin Coleman has 20 carries for 68 yards and a touchdown, and also has 7 catches for 120 yards.
Receiver Julio Jones has 9 catches for 172 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a calf injury. Tight end Jacob Tamme has 11 catches for 126 yards and a touchdown. Mohamed Sanu has 8 catches for 99 yards and a touchdown. He is probable with an ankle injury. Receiver Justin Hardy is questionable with a shoulder injury. Ten defensive players are listed on the injury report for the Falcons.
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New Orleans is being outscored 26-24 this season. The Saints average 398 yards per game on offense including 333 passing and 65 rushing yards. The Saints are in the top five in total and passing offense, but #30 in rushing. On defense, New Orleans allows 452 yards per game including 336 passing and 116 rushing yards. The Saints are #31 in both total and pass defense. New Orleans is 8/25 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 11/27. The Saints have forced 2 sacks and allowed 3 this season. New Orleans is +2 in turnovers.
Quarterback Drew Brees has completed 66.3% of his passes for 686 yards with 5 touchdowns, along with 2 carries for 5 yards.
Running back Mark Ingram has 21 carries for 88 yards, along with 6 catches for 46 yards. Tim Hightower will also get some carries.
Receiver Willie Snead IV has 14 catches for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is questionable with a toe injury. Brandin Cooks has 13 catches for 211 yards and 2 touchdowns. Michael Thomas has 10 catches for 114 yards. Fourteen defensive players and four offensive linemen are listed on the injury report.
Atlanta is 4-1 ATS in Monday games and in September, 38-16-1 after allowing more than 150 rushing yards, 2-5 against teams with losing home records and in road games, 3-11 overall, 1-4 after scoring more than 30 points, 1-5 after a straight up win, 1-7 against teams with losing records, against NFC South teams, and on fieldturf, 1-8 after passing for 250 yards or more, 1-9 against NFC teams, 0-6 after allowing more than 350 total yards. The underdog is 5-0 ATS in this series recently. The under is 5-1-1 in this series overall, but the over is 5-2-1 in New Orleans between the teams.
New Orleans is 5-0 ATS against NFC South teams, 4-1 after a straight up loss, in week three, and against NFC teams, 3-1-1 after a cover, 5-2 overall, 7-3-1 on fieldturf, 4-9-1 at home, 1-3-1 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, and 1-6 after allowing more than 350 yards.
I know the Saints and Giants only combined for 29 points, the Giants had 417 total yards. Only three New York turnovers kept the Saints in the game. Atlanta struggles on defense as well, and I can see this being a shootout with two explosive offenses. The Saints used to be almost unbeatable at home but have gone 4-10 at home recently. I like the Falcons to pull out the road upset.