No Takk, no Devonta, no Debo, no Keanu. Spells trouble, right? It’s understandable if it does but when you account for the fact that the Saints are 29th in overall defense, 30th in points, and 29th in passing yards allowed, it’s easy to this as a great matchup for a Falcons offense that found a groove last week against a good Carolina defense.
Two keys that are important in this matchup is which team can win on 3rd downs on defense and can the Falcons find offensive rhythm through Ridley, Sanu, Hooper, Coleman, and Smith once again. The Saints have lost four of their last six games in Atlanta.
Falcons 38, Saints 34
I’m in line with Eric on the point totals, but I’m expecting far-more heartburn for this one. The Falcons might light it up on offense now that Steve Sarkisian is on a roll, and they really might have to if this defense plays like it did last week down the stretch against one of the all-time great comeback quarterbacks in Drew Brees. Losing Deion and Keanu and trying to stop Alvin Kamara is going to be a nightmarish feat, but I actually have faith that Atlanta’s secondary can maintain Michael Thomas and sell out in the front seven to slow Kamara as much as possible.
This one should get plenty of fireworks in as long as our offense maintains pace. If Sark has a down week, Atlanta won’t win this. I’m betting he’ll find enough plays to outscore the Saints and build a nice, consistent streak to carry into that now-test against Cincinnati.
Falcons 30, Saints 24
I have the Saints scoring less than 30 points, which seems ridiculous given the challenges the Falcons have been facing on defense with key players out. Yet it’s a Falcons-Saints game, where nothing goes as planned, and I feel pretty good about this prediction.
The Saints just aren’t there yet. Their defense has regressed, but their offense is also shakier than it looks if you’re just glancing at the counting stats, given the way they felt way behind against Tampa Bay before making a comeback and stayed quiet until late against Cleveland. I think the Falcons, who have shown they can bedevil Drew Brees under Dan Quinn, will be able to do enough to hold this team in check, and I have a lot of confidence in the offense’s ability to put points on the board against the worst defense they’ve faced thus far.
Anything can happen in a game like this, but the Falcons should be able to win this even with their pile of injuries.
Falcons 36, Saints 32
I am very worried about the Falcons defense, but then again, the Saints haven’t looked much like competitors this season. With 3 of the team’s top 5 defensive players out for Sunday, the Falcons will need to score 27+ points to get the win. Against the Saints, they can definitely do that. These games usually end on the very last drive, and I sure as hell won’t be picking the Saints to pull out that W.
Falcons 31, Saints 28
This game SHOULD be a shootout due to the wealth of injuries on Atlanta’s defense and the overall mediocrity of the Saints’ defense. I think it is a high scoring game that comes down to who has the ball most and who has it last. The Falcons defense will have a tough time stopping the Saints, but I don’t think it will be any easier for the New Orleans defense against Matt Ryan and company. If Ryan is on his game again and the offensive line plays well, the Falcons will win a close one. If not, this one could hurt. I’m going to bank on Matt Bryant making a kick and Will Lutz missing one to give Atlanta the win in the first meeting between the two teams.