Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints Preview

Atlanta Falcons (2-0 this season, 2-0 ATS) +4, o/u 44 at New Orleans Saints (2-0, 2-0 ATS), 8:30 p.m. Eastern Monday, ESPN

by Staff

Professional football returns to the city of New Orleans when the Atlanta Falcons come to town to take on the New Orleans Saints in an NFC South Division skirmish on Monday Night Football from The Superdome.

Both teams come into the game having won their first two games of this new season. Atlanta beat the Panthers 20-6 in Carolina opening weekend, then stifled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14-3 in Georgia last week. So in their first two games, the Falcons have allowed nine points on three field goals.

Meanwhile, New Orleans won its first two games under new head coach Sean Payton, 19-14 over the Browns in Cleveland and 34-27 over the Packers in Green Bay.

Atlanta leads the NFL with 558 yards rushing in just two games, and those came against two pretty good defenses in Carolina and Tampa. Falcon QB Michael Vick is a lethal ground-based weapon, running the ball for 175 yards so far this season.

The Saints gave up just 85 yards rushing to Cleveland in Week 1 and 63 to the Packers last week. Their average of 74 rushing yards allowed per game ranks 6th in the league. But neither the Browns or Green Bay are too adept at running the ball at this point in time.

The Falcon defense held Carolina to 65 yard rushing and Tampa to just 40.

Atlanta beat New Orleans twice last year by scores of 34-31 and 36-17. The Saints outrushed the Falcons in the first game 211-160, and then Atlanta out-grounded N’awlins 127-125 in Game 2. Both games easily went over their posted totals.

The Falcons have been running the ball all over the field in their first two games, except when they get near the end zone. Atlanta owns a 1-for-9 TD/red zone ratio.

On top of that, the Falcons had to sign (although very fittingly) 46-year-old Morten Anderson to kick field goals Monday night in New Orleans after their punter went 2-for-8 on his FG attempts over the first two games.

Anderson hasnt kicked in an NFL game since January of 2005, when he was a member of the Minnesota Vikings.

Saints RB Reggie Bush is getting touches, as his team-leading 15 receptions indicates. No doubt about it, this kid is a threat every time he touches the ball. But he is still looking for his first NFL touchdown.

Bush had 61 rushing yards when New Orleans outrushed Cleveland 150-85. But he did most of his damage vs. Green Bay catching eight passes for 68 yards. The Saints fell behind 13-0, got outrushed by the Packers by 15 yards and outgained, and saw new QB Drew Brees turn the ball over three times in the first half. But New Orleans stuck it out and after taking a touchdown lead in the fourth quarter, turned a fumble into another score and held on for the victory.

Brees has been alright so far, hitting 60% of his pass attempts with a 3/2 TD/INT ratio.

Falcons DE John Abraham is listed as questionable for Monday nights game with a groin injury.

The over/under on this game started out at around 41, but has been bet up to 44. Atlanta was originally posted as a three-point road favorite, but the Falcons have been bet up to four and more at many places.