Monday Night Football in the deep south in a divisional match-up is always fun, especially when two high-octane teams square off. That’ll be the case Monday evening as the Atlanta Falcons head to Louisiana to take on the New Orleans Saints. The SuperDome is always rocking, especially for these primetime spots, so look for the Falcons to really enter a rowdy atmosphere for the Week 3 edition of Monday Night Football.
The NFC South might just be a bit more wide open than initially thought before the season. The Carolina Panthers don’t look to be themselves in the early going, and both the Falcons and Saints do possess some good qualities. If the division is to have a new winner, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see one of these squads pushing for the crown in December. Atlanta enters this contest fresh off a big win in Oakland, bringing them to a 1-1 record. That could be a watershed moment for this Falcons franchise and it’ll be interesting to see if they can carry that momentum through against a divisional rival. It hasn’t quite been as easy for the Saints in 2016 though. New Orleans has lost both of their first two games, albeit by a combined four points. They’ve shown some good tendencies and improvements from last season, but you have to think they’ll be viewing Monday’s match-up as a virtual must-win.
It promises to be a thrilling and high-scoring NFC South showdown on Monday evening between these exciting teams. Read on below for a full game breakdown and an official betting selection to end Week 3 off on a high note!
Falcons vs. Saints Betting Odds:
Atlanta Falcons +2.5 (+100)
@ New Orleans Saints -2.5 (-120)
Over 54 (-105)
Under 54 (-115)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Falcons vs. Saints Pick:
One of the big issues that have plagued the New Orleans Saints in the early parts of the season has been their pass protection along their offensive line. Last week the Giants were all over Drew Brees, but I don’t think that should be a big problem again on Monday evening. The Atlanta Falcons have a brutal pass rush, likely the worst in the entire NFL. As a result, Brees will finally get the time and space in the pocket he requires to again look like one of the sport’s best. Not only does Atlanta have a bunch of issues in the trenches, they also struggle defending the pass within their secondary. Though the Falcons were supposed to have improved there, it hasn’t been the case just yet, and there’s simply no chance they can stay with the likes of Willie Snead, Brandin Cooks, and Michael Thomas. There’s too much depth in that receiving corps and it should overwhelm Atlanta on Monday evening.
On the ground the Saints should be able to finally get their running game going. Mark Ingram hasn’t had the start to 2016 he had hoped for, but that should turn around against the Falcons. Atlanta doesn’t defend the run all that well, and even though they’re better here than against the pass, that’s not saying much with their stop unit. Ingram should have more holes open for him, and that should open up the passing game for Brees and his talented receivers.
On defense, the Saints aren’t exactly a defensive stalwart, but they have trended in the right direction of late. They have a lot of good individual talent but haven’t been able to piece that together. Atlanta will move the ball effectively, as they’ve done in their past two outings. But oddly the Falcons have really struggled in and around the red zone. Matt Ryan hasn’t looked sharp when his team is close to scoring, and when you compare his offense to Drew Brees’ group, you have to lean to the Saints here at home and a tad more desperate.
In front of their hometown fans, the Saints can’t slip to 0-3, especially after seeing the Panthers struggle out of the gate. Their stadium will be rocking and look for them to ride that energy to a solid outing. New Orleans offers more on offense, especially with their weapons on display in the red zone, and as a result look for the Saints to outscore Atlanta in a Monday evening shootout.
PICK = Saints -2.5 (-120)