The Saints (4-9) saw their playoff hopes dashed last time out in a heartbreaking loss to the Buccaneers in Week 13. New Orleans will be looking to flush it as they will return home to finish the season series with the Atlanta Falcons (5-8). The two teams met to open the season, where the Saints won at the last second in a thrilling game.
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints Game Information:
Current Records: Atlanta Falcons (5-8) @ New Orleans Saints (4-9)
Date/Time: December 18th @ 12:00 p.m. CT
Where: Caesar’s Superdome; New Orleans, LA
Where to Watch: FOX (Commentators: Play-By-Play Adam Amin, Analyst Mark Schlereth)
Spread: Saints (-4.0)
Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints Series History:
The Saints vs. Falcons regular season series is tied, 53-53. New Orleans will be looking for their second sweep of the Falcons in the past three years. The last meeting between the two teams came in week one where the Saints edged out the Falcons in Atlanta, 27-26.
Previewing the Saints Heading into Week 15:
New Orleans will be well-rested heading into week 15’s matchup against Atlanta as the Saints spent week 14 on the bye week. It was a tough for the Saints to step off the field vs. Tampa Bay the last time out as New Orleans controlled the game for 57 minutes before allowing the Buccaneers to come back in a 17-16 win. The loss more than likely puts New Orleans out of the playoff picture and without a first-round draft pick in this upcoming NFL Draft there are questions that need to be answered.
One of the questions that were answered was the speculation of who would be the starting quarterback in week 15. Andy Dalton will remain the starting quarterback for the Saints, even with questions going around that Dennis Allen would consider making a change at the position.
The last time out the offense was able to move the ball for the majority of the game against Tampa Bay, but they had to settle for field goals deep into Buccaneers territory. Leaving points on the board opened the door for Tampa Bay to eventually come back in the final minutes of the game. We saw the continuing problem of the running game being ineffective as they totaled for just 66 rushing yards.
The running game will be losing depth as Mark Ingram has is likely done for the year with a knee injury. New Orleans did claim Eno Benjamin off of waivers on Wednesday to help alleviate the lack of depth in the running back group. Ingram wasn’t the only Saints listed on the DNP list as Zack Baun, Wil Lutz, Dwayne Washington and P.J. Williams were all not seen at Wednesday’s practice.
Scouting the Saints Opponent: Falcons
The Falcons remain in the NFC South race with Tampa Bay’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers in week 14. Atlanta will also be well-rested, like the Saints, after they spent week 14 on the bye week. The last time we saw Atlanta take the field was in a 19-16 home loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Atlanta decided to make a major change at quarterback benching Marcus Mariota and allowing Desmond Ridder to take over at starting quarterback. Ridder has spent most of his time with the Falcons on the scout team as Mariota took the reigns of being the QB1 up until the bye week. He was drafted by Atlanta as the 74th overall pick in the third round of the this year’s NFL Draft after a successful career with Cincinnati.
Atlanta still remains in the playoff hunt with the Buccaneers leading the division with a record of 6-6. The Falcons need to continue to keep picking up wins to be able to take over Tampa Bay’s slight lead in what is a down-year for the NFC South.
In their last game against the Steelers, Cordarrelle Patterson was the leading rusher as he finished the game with 11 carries for 60 yards. Drake London continues to impress during his rookie season as he hauled in six catches for 95 yards. The Steelers were able to shutdown Atlanta’s pass offense as Mariota only threw for 167 passing yards and a touchdown.
Atlanta did have success the last time out against the Saints defense running the ball as they racked up 201 total rushing yards in week one. Patterson was the leading rusher in that contest against New Orleans as he had 22 carries for 120 yards and a touchdown.
On the other side of the ball, the Falcons defense rank 23rd in the NFL in points allowed (22.2 PPG). Atlanta is allowing an average of 4.4 yards per attempt and 129.5 rushing yards per game. Through the air, the Falcons allow 260.5 passing yards per game.
Prediction for Falcons @ Saints:
Atlanta dominated most of the game in their last meeting against the Saints, before they were able to pull off an improbable comeback in a 27-26 win in week one. It will be a different quarterback matchup this go-round as Dalton and Ridder will be the two starting quarterbacks.
The key for the Saints offense will be looking to ramp up a running game that has been missing in action for most of the season. Atlanta’s defense has struggled against the run and New Orleans was able to take advantage of that in their last meeting as they rushed for 151 yards. The Saints will have a chance to come out with a win if they can keep their offense balanced and not having to just rely on the passing game.
On the flip side, the Saints defense will need to do a better job of containing Patterson in this matchup. Atlanta’s offensive line was able to control the line of scrimmage as New Orleans wasn’t able to have success of stopping the run. New Orleans was able to win the turnover margin to help them in their comeback victory.
The Saints defense have also struggled against running quarterback and Ridder will be the next in line to test that. It hasn’t been the season that New Orleans has expected, but they will come out with a close victory at home against the Falcons in week 15.
Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 17, New Orleans Saints 21