Two teams going in opposite directions meet tonight in the Georgia Dome. The Saints are 8 and 2 and the Falcons are 2 and 8.
The Black and Gold are coming off an impressive win over the San Francisco 49ers, the Dirty Birds coming off a loss last week to the Tampa Bay Bucaneers 41 to 28. The Bucs dominated the Falcons for most of the game. The short week presents some challenges for both teams but it’s not an advantage either way for the Falcons or the Saints.
The Saints and Falcons opened the season in week 1 with a thriller that came down to the wire. The Saints prevailed over Atlanta 23-17 in the first match up.
The Falcons have lost their last four games by an average of 18.5 points per contest.
Since 2006, with Sean Payton on the sidelines, the Saints average margin-of-victory over Atlanta is nearly 11 points. Even more impressive, Payton and the Saints are 5 and 1 in the Georgia Dome against the Dirty Birds. 2012 notwithstanding because of Sean Payton’s Suspension, the Saints are 12 and 3 over the Falcons.
Taking a close look at the Falcons, some eye-popping stats point to their 2 and 8 record. First, the Dirty Birds are minus 11 in the takeaway/giveaway ratio; the Saints are plus 3. Atlanta allows an average of 29 points per ball game while the Saints score an average of 28. The Falcons are 30th in the NFL against the Rush, allowing opponents an average of 132 yards per contest.
Finally, during the Falcons current four-game losing skid, Quaterback Matt Ryan has thrown 9 interceptions. Atlanta has been decimated by injuries this season, losing their top pass catcher Julio Jones for the season, Roddy White has been hampered by an ankle injury, and the offensive line has been well below average.
There is a reason the wise guys in Vegas have the Saints favored by 9 and 1/2 points tonight on the road. Earlier I told you the Saints average margin-of-victory over Atlanta with Sean Payton on the sidelines is nearly 11 points. The Saints win this ball game going away, it’s a name-your-score game for the Black and Gold. I get the rivalry aspect, but the Falcons look like a team much more interested in planning their summer vacations, hitting the golf course and anything else not related to football!
My Prediction: Saints 31 - Falcons 14