New Orleans Saints (0-0, 0-0 ATS) @ Atlanta Falcons (0-0, 0-0 ATS)
*ATS= against the spread
BETDAQ Line: New Orleans -3 (51.5)
New Orleans: WR Kenny Stills (out– quad), FB Erik Lorig (out– ankle)
New Orleans is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings between these 2 teams
New Orleans is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 road games
Atlanta is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. NFC opponents
The home team is 5-0 ATS in the last 5 meetings between these 2 teams
The UNDER is 6-0 in New Orleans’ last 6 road games
The UNDER is 8-1 in New Orleans’ last 9 games overall
The UNDER is 5-2 in Atlanta’s last 7 games vs. NFC South opponents
Three reasons to back New Orleans
1. An argument could be made that the Saints are the most complete team in the NFL. After all, they were the only team in the league to rank in the top 4 in both total offense and total defense last season. The bulk of their roster returns intact.
2. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees is one of the very best in the league at his position and he’ll be facing an Atlanta defense that ranked 28th in yards allowed last year. The Falcons simply don’t have an answer for Brees and the New Orleans offense.
3. The Falcons were worse than the Saints in every conceivable way last season and there are still massive holes on the roster– the offensive line is a mess (a rookie will be protecting Matt Ryan’s blind side), as is the linebacking corps, a unit dominated by youth and inexperience. The linebacking corps is of particular concern this week, as Brees is sure to pick them apart.
Three reasons to back Atlanta
1. The Falcons are undervalued after their disastrous 2013 season, but they won’t be undervalued for long if they beat the Saints on Sunday, so the time to act is now. Bettors rarely get an opportunity to back the Mike Smith/Matt Ryan Falcons as a home ‘dog in a division game.
2. Now that they’re healthy again, the Atlanta offense should once again be one of the NFL’s best. Julio Jones and Roddy White represent the best tandem of wideouts in the league, and veteran Steven Jackson is still one of the NFL’s finest tailbacks. Throw in franchise quarterback Matt Ryan and you have a unit capable of lighting up the scoreboard. And remember– although they played well last season, the New Orleans defense allowed the most yards in NFL history in 2012.
3. The venue has always been tremendously important in this rivalry, which is why the chance to back Atlanta as a home underdog is so enticing. The home team has covered the last 5 times these teams have met, and the Saints really struggled on the road last season, going 2-6 against the spread.
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