The New Orleans Saints will try to pick up where they left off before last week’s bye when they play host to the Atlanta Falcons. Game time is at 1:00 EST on Sunday, November 10 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. A majority of the country will be able to watch the game on Fox.
Oddsmakers list the Saints as 13-point favorites at home with an over/under of 51.5 points. Click here to get a full list of this week’s NFL betting odds.
The Saints have once again established themselves as one of the best teams in the NFL. They were able to go 5-0 with Drew Brees sidelined with a thumb injury and then blasted the Cardinals 31-9 right before their bye with Brees back on the field.
New Orleans heads into the second half of the season at 7-1, giving them a two-game cushion over Carolina atop the NFC South. The Saints should also benefit from playing the lowly Falcons in two of their next four games. However, New Orleans still has to play Carolina twice and also has the undefeated 49ers left on their schedule. It’s not yet a given that the Saints will run away with the NFC South crown, so they have to make sure they take care of business against losing teams.
The Falcons, meanwhile, are the antithesis of the Saints. They come out of their bye week on a 6-game losing streak, having failed to win a game since Week 2. There has been speculation about Dan Quinn’s job status for most of the season. But the Falcons declined to make a coaching change during the bye week, although Quinn made a few changes to his coaching staff.
At 1-7, there’s little hope for Atlanta in 2019. To make matters worse, the Falcons come out of their bye week with back-to-back road games against the Saints and Panthers. In fact, they’ll play all three of their NFC South rivals twice during the final eight games of the season. Barring a sudden turnaround, the Falcons are likely to have a top-5 pick in next year’s draft and are even in the running for the top overall pick.
It’s sad to see the Falcons in such dire straights because these two division rivals usually put on a good show, including a 43-37 overtime thriller the Saints won in Atlanta last year. Unfortunately for the Falcons, they have just two wins in their last eight trips to the Big Easy, including a 14-point loss on Thanksgiving last season.
Even the most optimistic Falcons fan would have a hard time creating a logical argument for why Atlanta will beat the spread in this game. Even in a rivalry game, lopsided games aren’t out of the question. I don’t even know how I would justify taking the Falcons in this game, so I have no choice but to lay down the points and take New Orleans to cover.
Atlanta’s problems start on the defensive side of the ball. The Falcons have allowed the third-most points in the NFL this season. Every team they’ve faced has scored at least 20 points against them. Even the problematic Titans scored 24 points against Atlanta while the high-powered Texans put up 53 points on the scoreboard. Obviously, that doesn’t bode well for Atlanta’s chances of slowing down the New Orleans offense.
Not only did Brees return before the bye week and look as sharp as ever, but the Saints are also set to get Alvin Kamara back from injury this week. The Saints scored over 30 points in the two games Kamara missed, so he’s just icing on the cake. Keep in mind that the New Orleans offensive line is one of the best in the league, yielding just 12 sacks in eight games. On the other end of the spectrum, the Falcons have the fewest sacks in the NFL this year. That means Brees should have a lot of time in the pocket to cut through the Atlanta secondary like a hot knife through butter.
The only silver lining for the Falcons this week is that Matt Ryan appears ready to return from an ankle injury that caused him to miss the team’s loss to Seattle right before the bye. However, Ryan, despite putting up great numbers, hasn’t been enough to lead the Falcons to wins this year. Atlanta is also without Mohammed Sanu, who was traded to the Patriots, which will make it easier for the Saints to key on Julio Jones and take him out of the game. Plus, the Atlanta running game has produced little this year while Ryan has been turnover-prone at times because everything is on his shoulders.
Barring a super-human effort from Ryan and Jones against a solid New Orleans defense, the Falcons will be fighting another losing battle this week. I don’t see how the Atlanta defense is going to keep Brees and the New Orleans offense under wraps. I expect the Saints to score early and often, which should allow them to cover the 13-point spread.