New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons Week 1 Play

by | Sep 3, 2022 | nfl

New Orleans Saints (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Atlanta Falcons (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)

NFL Week 1

Date/Time: Sunday September 11th, 2022. 1:00PM (EST)

Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta, GA

TV: FOX

Betting Odds:

Point Spread: NO -5.5/ATL +5.5

Total: 42.5

The opening weekend in the NFL will feature a number of high-profile meetings that will surely set the tone for the 2022 season, but perhaps one of the games being overlooked on the Week 1 slate includes an NFC South showdown between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium. I say this game is intriguing because some team in the NFC South is going to emerge as a contender to Tampa Bay this season based simply on a numbers game. Could the Saints be the team that takes a step forward with new Head Coach Dennis Allen? Only time will tell.

In the wake of Sean Payton’s retirement, Dennis Allen will be the guy that Saints fans hope can lead the team back to the playoffs following a 9-8 SU campaign in 2021 that snapped a 4-year postseason streak. My biggest concern for the Saints going into 2022 ironically pertains to the offensive side of the football. The offense has rarely been a weakness in New Orleans, but this is a very different team than we have seen in previous years. Volatile QB Jameis Winston returns behind center after a season-ending ACL injury in 2021, RB Alvin Kamara is coming off his worst season as a pro, and former star WR Michael Thomas appears to be an injury-riddled shadow on his former self.

The Saints did get some additions over the offseason, but most of the quality additions occurred on the defensive side of the football with Taco Charlton, Marcus Maye, and Tyrann Mathieu. Veteran WR Jarvis Landry was added on the offensive side of the football, which should help, but this is a Saints’ offense that will need to establish an identity. If I had to guess, I would imagine the defense of New Orleans will be the group that keeps the team competitive this season, especially in division play against some mediocre offenses in Atlanta and Carolina. The Saints’ defense will open the season with perhaps one of their most favorable match-ups of the season against Atlanta.

Betting against the Falcons

In some ways, Atlanta exceeded expectations in 2021 with a 7-10 SU record following a 4-win season in 2020. However, for the 2nd straight year, the Falcons have suffered substantial losses on the offensive side of the football with the losses of QB Matt Ryan, RB Mike Davis, and WR Russell Gage, among others. This Atlanta offense was among the bottom five teams in the league in both yardage and scoring in 2021. Needless to say, there are some major concerns for the immediate future, especially with QB Marcus Mariota who will get an opportunity to revive his career.

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For the record, I do believe Atlanta has some raw talents on the offensive side of the football. Rookie WR Drake London looks promising, and 2nd year TE Kyle Pitts remains an athletic freak of nature. However, Atlanta still has nothing to offer in the run game, and that is not an ideal scenario for Mariota as he will likely be put in more pure passing situations. Personally, I just see too many question marks and inexperience on the offensive side of the football. In an ideal situation, this team will grow throughout the season, but I would be willing to fade the Falcons consistently early this season. This is a worse team than we saw a year ago, and Atlanta was just 2-6-1 ATS in their final nine games last season. Not to mention, Atlanta was also 0-7 ATS in their last seven home games in 2021 as well.

New Orleans vs. Atlanta Prediction

Personally, I believe this betting line is a modest 5.5 points simply based on the fact it is a Week 1 game and the fact pertaining to the number of unknowns that accompany the opening week of the season. In reality, New Orleans has many paths to victory and a cover. QB Jameis Winston is still a solid passer despite his turnover concerns. With Alvin Kamara healthy, this offense will have plenty of options in the run game and the short-intermediate passing game to keep the ball moving. With that being said even if New Orleans’ offense does not fire on all cylinders, I love the Saints’ match-up on the defensive side of the football. The Saints pass-rush should feast on a bad Atlanta front, and they have added veterans in the secondary that will match up against a lot of inexperienced targets in the passing game. Don’t be surprised if the Saints have a really impressive defensive performance to make this an easy cover!

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