Monday Night Football: Falcons-Saints Spread, Analysis, Prediction

falcons-saints spread pick, prediction, preview - monday night football preview, atlanta-new orleansEditor’s Note: AJ Kaufman’s weekly MNF coverage on MSF is sponsored by Sadler’s Smokehouse, a producer of premium pit smoked meats that are best described by Sadler’s slogan: Legendary since 1948.

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Check out Sadler’s Monday Night Football Recipe of the Week: Sadler’s Smokehouse Shaved Pork Loin Pockets

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Monday Night Football

Atlanta Falcons (4-2) at New Orleans Saints (6-0)

Atlanta Falcons (4-2) at New Orleans Saints (6-0)

  • Falcons-Saints Date: Sunday, November 1st
  • Falcons-Saints Kickoff Time: 8:30 PM
  • Falcons-Saints TV Network: ESPN
  • Falcons-Saints Announcers: Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, and Jon Gruden
  • Falcons-Saints Point Spread: Saints -11 (as of Sunday morning)
  • Falcons-Saints Over-Under: 55 (as of Sunday morning)
  • Falcons-Saints Spread Pick by Jerod: This will be another tremendous game and my temptation is to pick the Saints and not think about it. But Atlanta is a good team that just ran into a well-rested, ready-to-go team in Week 7 that was coming off of its bye. I do think the Saints will win, and I’m sure they’ll put up a ton of points, but I think the Falcons can keep this one closer than the 10 points they are being given. Falcons-Saints free pick: Falcons +10

Falcons-Saints MNF Preview and Analysis

In their first intra-divisional game of 2009, the New Orleans Saints, the NFC’s lone unbeaten team, look to start 7-0 for just the second time in team history (1991). It comes on the heels of their most difficult win, last weekend in Miami.

Everyone knows about Drew Brees and his 107 QB rating, but New Orleans also offers the third best rushing attack in the NFL, led by a balance of a dedicated Mike Bell, Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush. Atlanta is clearly the Saints’ primary competition in the NFC South, and at two games back, needs this win to stay in the divisional title picture. Most “power rankings,” however, even in their own paper, don’t put the Falcons in the class of New Orleans.

falcons-saints spread pick, prediction, preview - monday night football preview, atlanta-new orleansAtlanta, though 19th in the NFL in total offense, should be in the top ten considering their talent. Michael Turner has regressed, and due to injuries, Atlanta signed veteran running back Aaron Stecker. Dallas got to Matt Ryan four times and he looked uncomfortable, even though, overall, Atlanta’s offense was fairly solid.

The Saints have 14 sacks in six games, so one would think that they’d have the same ability to harass Ryan, but defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis injured his knee at Miami and will probably miss this game. Ellis’ absence will be felt, as people underestimate how important he is to New Orleans’ defense, especially commanding double teams. Not having him in the lineup will make the line significantly weaker, and Ryan should have more success throwing the ball. In two meetings last year, Ryan totaled 59 points against the Saints.

Defensively for the Falcons, they’ve played well against the rush lately, but Drew Brees definitely has the potential to torch their secondary with receivers Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Jeremy Shockey and Devery Henderson, plus their aforementioned trio of runners out of backfield.

For example, Tony Romo really struggled going into the Atlanta game, but quickly broke out of his funk with 311 yards and three touchdowns versus the Falcons’ secondary. Atlanta had been playing much better defense this year, but starting corner Brian Williams suffered a season-ending injury against the Bears, forcing the smaller Brent Grimes into the lineup. Atlanta could not contain Miles Austin last week either, and statistically they are 25th in total defense, one spot down from last season.

The Falcons have been playing well against the rush lately, but worrying about Thomas, Bell and Bush coming out of the backfield could distract from the pass, and allow Brees to pick apart the secondary.

Falcons-Saints MNF Prediction

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Vegas had the undefeated Saints installed as 11 point favorites over the inconsistent 4-2 Falcons as they prepare to meet Monday night in an NFC South showdown at the Louisiana Superdome. That seems high, and perhaps it’s indicative of what fans — even their own —  really feel about Atlanta after their Week 7 loss to the mediocre Cowboys; but at the same time, this game should be competitive.

These squads are know each other well, so I think it remains close throughout. Unless Brees goes wild, which he might, I’d take the points, especially if you can get even more than 11.

Falcons-Saints Spread Pick: Falcons +11

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* – Drew Brees photo credit: T-Rac’s Posse

* – Matt Ryan photo credit: Studio Bytes



About AJ Kaufman

A former schoolteacher and military historian, A.J. now works in public relations. As an MSF columnist since 2009, he supports anything baseball-related. Raised in San Diego, A.J. has since resided in numerous parts of America, including Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio and Washington State. After departing the coasts in 2005, he's traveled the back roads of all 50 states and prefers the Heartland. Married to Maria, A.J. is the author of three books and enjoys reading presidential biographies.

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