When and where: November 10, 2019, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA, 1:00 PM ET
The Atlanta Falcons head to the rollicking madhouse that is the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday for an NFC South divisional showdown with the New Orleans Saints. A bye week is the only thing separating the Falcons from six consecutive losses, including a recent 20-27 defeat at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. They’ll head on the road to take on arguably the most complete team in the NFL. With quarterback Drew Brees back behind center, the Saints steamrolled the Arizona Cardinals in a 31-9 Week 8 victory.
Ryan returns to the slumping FalconsDon’t expect Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan to sulk in the corner while his team plunges in one of the most disastrous seasons in recent memory. Few could have predicted one of the most talented rosters in the league would even be capable of struggling as much as the Falcons have this year. Echoes of that blown 28-3 lead in Super Bowl LI to the New England Patriots has haunted the organization ever since.
The Falcons actually showed more fight in last week’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks with backup Matt Schaub behind center. Ryan was ruled out for the game with an ankle injury sustained in the previous week against the Los Angeles Rams, but he is expected to return against the Saints on Sunday. It’s a tough opponent to return against considering the Saints rank top-10 in the league in sack percentage.
Ryan looked like he was getting knocked around in a pinball machine against the Rams, and now he’ll have Saints’ pass-rushers Cameron Jordan, Marcus Davenport and Trey Hendrickson breathing down his neck. It’s hard to take advantage of those endless offensive weapons when the quarterback is constantly on his back.
Ryan might also be without offensive guards Jamon Brown and Wes Schweitzer, who are both listed on the injury report as questionable for the game. Running back Ito Smith could also be sidelined with a neck injury.
The Falcons’ moribund defense isn’t helping matters, either. They’ve stunk up the field so much the team has opted to move Raheem Morris back to the defensive side of the ball for a desperate fix. It could be a long day of work for Morris facing a prolific Saints offense with quarterback Drew Brees humming behind center.
Saints are ready to be contendersEven with Teddy Bridgewater as the starting quarterback, the Saints proved how tough they were to beat. Throw Brees back into the mix, and it seems downright impossible to topple them.
I get the undefeated San Francisco 49ers are the sexy story in the league right now, but it would be foolish to overlook the Saints being the most complete team in football. They have a top-10 defensive unit paired with a high-flying offense led by one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Despite missing most of the season, Brees returned a week ago and carved up the Cardinals’ secondary for 373 passing yards and three touchdowns.
He’ll look to do the same against a Falcons’ secondary giving up an average of 266.1 passing yards per game. The Saints are also hoping to have lead tailback Alvin Kamara back on the field to add to the Falcons’ defensive misery. However, even if he does miss another game, backup Latavius Murray should have no issues running over a Falcons defense allowing 129.8 rushing yards per game on the road.
The scent of Ryan will fill the nostrils of the Saints’ ferocious defensive front. Expect them to be aggressive right out of the gates to see if they can force him into becoming a turnover machine. Teams have been able to get pressure on him fairly consistently, including the Rams racking up five sacks against him in his last outing.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Falcons are 3-14 ATS in their last 17 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
- Falcons are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- Falcons are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games following an ATS win.
- Falcons are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games on field turf.
- Saints are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games against teams in the NFC.
- Saints are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games on field turf.
- Saints are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up win of more than 14 points.
- Saints are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games following a bye week.