The 5-0 Atlanta Falcons will travel to New Orleans to take on the 1-4 Saints in this weeks Thursday night Matchup. The Falcons are coming off a 25-19 overtime win over Washington, in which their high-powered offense was mostly kept in check. The Saints are coming off an ugly 39-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Atlanta is the first team in the history of the NFL to start 5-0 even though they were trailing in the 4th quarter in 4 of those wins. The Saints are looking to avoid their worse start to a season since 1999 when they started 1-7.
The Falcons were able to stay unbeaten because their defense came through when it mattered most. Robert Alford had 2 interceptions against Washington including the game winner when he returned an interception 59 yards for a touchdown in overtime. They only had 1 sack and 4 tackles for losses but were able to limit the Redskins offense to 51 rushing yards on 24 carries. Offensively, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones didn’t play that well but Devonta Freeman continued his great play with another big game. Matt Ryan was 24-42 for 254 yards but did not throw a touchdown, had a fumble, and was intercepted twice. Julio Jones caught only 5 passes for 67 yards and is the second week in a row he has failed to record 70 receiving yards after averaging 146 yards per game over the first 3 weeks. Freeman rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown and over his last 3 games, he has rushed for 362 yards and 7 touchdowns.
The Saints are last in the league in allowing 409 yards per game. Last week they did even worse than that by allowing the Eagles to gain over 500 yards of total offense and they couldn’t stop the run or the pass. The Eagles rushed for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns and Sam Bradford threw for 333 yards and another 2 touchdowns. They did have 2 interceptions but they couldn’t register a sack and only had 3 tackles for losses. Offensively, they committed 4 turnovers and although Drew Brees threw for 335 yards and 2 touchdowns, he threw an interception and had 2 fumbles which were recovered by Philadelphia. The offensive line did a poor job of protecting him as they allowed Brees to take 5 sacks for a loss of 43 yards. They were able to gain 96 yards on the ground with Mark Ingram leading the team with 57 yards on 12 carries.
The Atlanta Falcons are a perfect 5-0 against the spread this year while New Orleans is 1-4. The Falcons proved last week that they could still win without their best offense and with the Saints allowing more yards per game than any other team the Falcons can get their offense right back on track. Even though the Saints will have home field advantage the Falcons should be able to beat the Saints by a field goal.
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