Atlanta Falcons (1-1) vs New Orleans Saints (0-2)
The New Orleans Saints will commemorate one of the more noteworthy games in franchise history when they host the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night in a matchup (Enter Contests) of longtime NFC South rivals. It will mark the 10-year anniversary of the re-opening of the Superdome after the venue was forced to close for one season in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
About the Saints
While emotions certainly will not be as high as in New Orleans’ win over Atlanta a decade ago, the Saints can use any edge to avoid an 0-3 start after dropping their first two games by a combined four points.The Saints were horrendous on defense last season and little has changed. They rank 31st in the league with a staggering 451.5 yards surrendered and have been torched through the air for an average of 336.0 yards. Keeping the defense off the field would be easier if the Saints could crank up their running game, with lead back Mark Ingram producing 88 rushing yards on only 21 attempts, including nine carries in last week’s 19-16 loss at the New York Giants.
Quarterback Drew Brees has a potent receiving duo in Willie Snead and Brandon Cooks, who have combined for 27 catches and four touchdowns. Cooks has accumulated a touchdown catch in six consecutive home games. The Saints are 15-5 versus Atlanta since Brees and coach Sean Payton joined the team, which also includes a season sweep in 2015.
About the Falcons
The Falcons rebounded from a 31-24 home loss to Tampa Bay in Week 1 with a 35-28 road win last week at Oakland, which squeezed out a 35-34 victory at New Orleans in the season opener. Matt Ryan had his fewest touchdown passes (21) since his rookie season in 2015, but he off to a fast start with 730 yards passing with five scores and one interception while leading the league with a 121.4 quarterback rating. There is cause for concern in the passing game with star wide receiver Julio Jones sitting out his second straight practice Friday due to a calf injury, but Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said he expects him to play. Jones has nine receptions for 149 yards in the last meeting against New Orleans.
The Falcons are receiving solid production from the backfield tandem of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, who have combined for 181 rushing yards and 11 receptions. Atlanta’s defense ranks 29th overall, allowing an average of 412.5 yards per game.