Atlanta (5-0) at New Orleans (1-4)
When: Thursday, October 15th 2015
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Time: 8:25 ET
TV: CBS Radio: XM 225, 226, 88
The Atlanta Falcons are hoping to get off to a quick start tonight and not have to come back in the fourth quarter like they have been all year. They became the first team in history to start the season 5-0 while trailing in the 4th quarter in four of those games. Last week they trailed Washington 16-12 with 2:28 to play before scoring with :24 left to go up three only to see the Redskins kick a 52 yard FG as time expired to send it to overtime. The Redskins looked as if they were going in for a go-ahead FG, but Robert Alford intercepted a Kirk Cousins pass and returned it 59 yards for the winning touchdown. Quarterback Matt Ryan looks to rebound from his worst game of the season after throwing for 254 yards with two interceptions and a fumble. He has only one touchdown pass in the last two weeks despite Atlanta scoring 73 points. The reason is that the Falcons might have finally found a good running back in Devonta Freeman. He moved into the starting lineup when rookie running back Tevin Coleman suffered a rib injury in Week 2 and he hasn’t looked back, becoming the first player in the Super Bowl era to rush for at least 7 touchdowns in his first three career starts. Star wide receiver Julio Jones has been quiet the last two weeks, but he had 14 receptions for 223 yards as the Falcons swept the season series against the Saints in 2014.
The New Orleans Saints are a mess right now with Dree Brees playing hurt. Last week in a 39-17 loss to the Eagles, Brees, threw for a pair of touchdowns and notched his third 300-yard game, but he was picked off once, lost a pair of fumbles and sacked five times. The Saints have no rushing game that can take the pressure off Brees. They’re ranked 29th in the NFL with only 85.4 rushing yards a game. The defense is not much better. New Orleans allowed 29 unanswered points in last week’s rout at Philadelphia and the league’s worst defense (409.0 yards per game) was shredded for 34 first downs and 519 total yards. It won’t get any easier tonight when the high-flying Falcons come to town. Brees is 7-2 in his last nine home starts against the Falcons, but this might be the first time he’s an underdog. The rest of the Saints schedule actually looks favorable, but they can’t afford to lose many more games if they want to reach the playoffs. A win tonight would be a big step.
This line was -3 all week until Wednesday morning when the public moved it to 3.5. Atlanta won here last December 30-14 and the Saints are playing horrible at home lately. New Orleans did beat a Romo-less Cowboys team two weeks ago, but the Falcons also beat Dallas. I hate to side with the public on this one, but Atlanta is just too good for this New Orleans defense.
Pick: Falcons -3.5