This is maybe the most unpleasant matchup to roll out predictions for. If the Falcons win and we’ve been dour, our lack of faith in this team will be on trial. If the Falcons lose, we’re either too optimistic or we were right on the money..and it means the Falcons lost. A win is the thing that matters, and we’d love to be total homers and predict a road win against a tough opponent.
This week, we’re not, though we’re still hoping it happens. The Falcons are fresh off a tough effort and the Saints are fresh off a win against the Buccaneers even without having Jameis Winston for much of the day, so it’s very clear that it will take a superlative Falcons effort to win. The Falcons can gin that up, so it’s a question of what team shows up today and how obliging the Saints are.
Expectations aside, though, go Falcons in a game we desperately want to see a victory in. Give us your predictions in the comments.
Falcons 13 - Saints 21
Let me be clear: I want the Falcons to prove me wrong. Right now, though, the absence of Ridley looms large and the rest of this receiving corps just isn’t inspiring to me. New Orleans also has a good enough secondary to limit Kyle Pitts in the same way the Panthers did. Their pass rush isn’t quite the same as what Carolina has, so there is some hope here. I’m no believer in Trevor Siemian but this Atlanta defense will likely make him look like an All-Pro. Even still, holding them to 21 will feel like a small, pointless victory. Come on, Arthur Smith - inspire us to believe again. - David Walker
Falcons 20 - Saints 24
Slugfest punctuated by turnovers. I badly want to predict a Falcons win in spite of my expectations, but even without Jameis Winston this is a tough matchup in a hostile environment, and the Falcons just scuffled mightily a week ago against a team that ran the ball well and had a terrific defense. I’m hoping—expecting, really—that the Falcons can keep it close and pull something off at the end, but there’s a lot to overcome this week and I’m not sure the Falcons are going to be able to bounce back enough from that Carolina loss to earn the victory. If the offense gets going early and keeps humming, I’ll quietly edit this. -Dave Choate
Falcons 20 - Saints 27
I hate picking the Saints to win. It causes me physical pain and mental anguish. Especially since the Saints aren’t some unbeatable team. Trevor Siemian, a quarterback I vaguely recall for being briefly relevant but had to Google to spell his name, is starting. Michael Thomas, the team’s top tight end, is lost for the year. Yet I have major concerns after the Falcons were only able to muster 13 points against the Carolina Panthers. Atlanta hasn’t been consistent enough for anyone to give them the benefit of the doubt, and so far, they’ve only beaten the very worst teams in the league. And those wins were narrow.
Maybe picking the Saints will jinx them? - Matt Chambers