The Atlanta Falcons (+5.5) had a prime opportunity at home last week to move their season record above .500 and...they blew it. The New Orleans Saints (-5.5) managed to beat the defending world champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers 36-27 while also grabbing two interceptions off of the immortal Tom Brady.
The Falcons offensive line took a step back against the Panthers, allowing Matt Ryan to be pressured on over 50% of his drop backs. Without Calvin Ridley in the lineup, the Panthers were able to focus on shutting down Kyle Pitts and were successful in doing so, limiting him to just 2 receptions for 13 yards. Cordarelle Patterson was still effective and Tajae Sharpe was a bright spot in the game, but the rest of the offensive weapons were mostly invisible.
Matt Ryan also had a rough day with only 146 yards passing and 2 interceptions. It’s clear his game will largely depend on the job the offensive line does up front. They’ll face a Saints defense that has 16 sacks on the year (tied for 20th) and a sack rate of 5.6% (23rd). The opportunity is there for the Atlanta offensive line to get back on track.
The New Orleans offense is a big question mark with Trevor Siemian at QB. They will undoubtedly lean on Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram to carry the load and the Atlanta defense has been ... well, they’ve not been very good. The team misses Dante Fowler and only Grady Jarrett and A.J. Terrell are earning their paychecks currently. Terrell has been exceptional this year and is turning into the kind of corner that QBs just stay away from.
As with all rivalry games, this one certainly has the potential to go sideways. On paper, however, the Falcons need their offense to get back into gear because their best chance at a win will be in a shootout.
This is a game that favors the home team Saints, but the loss of Jameis Winston looms large as the DraftKings Sportbook thinks this one will be within a touchdown.
Score prediction: Falcons 21, Saints 28
Bold prediction: the Atlanta defense nabs two turnovers to keep this close
Vote in our poll and leave your score predictions in the comments.
Falcons vs. Saints Week 9
This poll is closed
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.