|-4.5 NO (-115) @ Fanduel|
9* Take New Orleans (#454)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Friday reports indicate that Taysom Hill will start for the Saints at QB, not Jameis Winston. That doesn’t change my opinion one bit --- I still expect the Saints to win this game by margin!
The Saints went 5-0 SU, 5-0 ATS last year when Drew Brees got hurt and Teddy Bridgewater took over behind center for five weeks. I wouldn’t be shocked in the slightest to see similar results without Brees on the field this year.
Yes, Jameis Winston takes more risks than Drew Brees when it comes to testing defenses deep. Winston’s big arm – along with the return to health of just about every key piece of the New Orleans receiving corps – ensures more downfield shots and quick strike opportunities. Remember, the Saints BACKUP QB led the NFL in passing yards last year, averaging 8.2 yards per ATTEMPT while throwing for 33 touchdowns. I expect Winston’s presence to make it easier for Alvin Kamara to find running room as well – you can’t stack the box to stop it. And I’m also expecting to see plenty of trickery with Taysom Hill behind center. Offensively, expect New Orleans to click on all cylinders.
The Saints defense struggled with allowing big plays repeatedly during the first half of the season. But those problems have disappeared in recent weeks, and the defense is coming off their two best games of the year. New Orleans sees Atlanta twice a year, and they’ve been masterful in recent meetings containing Matt Ryan and company, allowing a very respectable 18, 26 and 17 points to the Falcons in the last three meetings. I’m not expecting a Falcons offensive explosion here.
Atlanta is one Todd Gurley kneeldown at the one yard line away from being 4-0 in the Raheem Morris era. Last year, they went 6-2 down the stretch after a 1-7 start. In 2018, they were 4-9 before winning their last three; a team with a track record of fighting hard even at the end of ‘lost’ seasons. But tight wins over lesser foes (they beat the Broncos and Panthers before their bye) doesn’t give me any confidence that Atlanta can hang tough with a Super Bowl contender. In fact, the Falcons have played only two teams with a winning record all year. They lost both of those games by double digit margins. Expect more of the same on Sunday. Take the Saints.
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