New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons Matchup Preview (1/9/22): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)

New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons Matchup Preview (1/9/22)

In an NFC South divisional game, the New Orleans Saints (8-8) will play the Atlanta Falcons (7-9) in week 18 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.  The Saints beat the Panthers on the road, 18-10 to keep their playoff hopes alive.  New Orleans has won three of their last four games.  The Falcons are coming off a 29-15 road loss to the Bills last weekend.  Atlanta has not been over .500 at any point in a season since 2017.  The Saints have scored in 320 straight games: fourth longest streak in NFL history.  The Falcons have scored at least 20 points in eight games this season.  New Orleans has seven missed extra points this season.  Per, Atlanta has had at least one takeaway in 12 straight games for the first time since 2009-2011.

New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons Betting Odds

New Orleans is a 4.5-point road favorite over Atlanta in the final game of the regular season.  The Falcons are 6-9-1 against the spread this season; 1-5 at home.  The Saints are 1-7 against the spread in their last eight games following an against the spread win.  The Falcons are 0-4 against the spread in their last four home games.

My Prediction:  Saints 21-17, Saints don’t cover, and the teams stay under 40 points.

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TV Schedule

Date: 1/9/22
Time: 2:25 PM ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
TV Coverage: FOX

New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons Live Stream

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New Orleans Saints Analysis

New Orleans is averaging 300.5 yards per game of total offense, 29th in the league and averaging 20.9 points per game this season, ranking them 20th in the NFL. 

Taysom Hill returned from the COVID-19 list to lead the Saints to their eighth win of the season.  He was 17-28 for 222 yards with a touchdown for a 97.6 passer rating.  Hill also added 45 yards on the ground; he’s rushed for over 40 yards in three games this season.   On the season, the fifth-year pro has thrown for 871 yards, rushed for 356 yards, and accounted for eight touchdowns this season (three passing and five rushing).  

Alvin Kamara is the engine that makes the Saints offense go.  In the win over Carolina, he had 100 yards from scrimmage (32 rushing and 68 receiving) and a touchdown.  This season, he has 752 rushing yards, which leads the Saints, 423 receiving yards and nine total touchdowns (four rushing and five receiving).  Kamara has 68 career touchdowns, only Marques Colston has more touchdowns in Saints history with 72. 

Without Michael Thomas, who’s been out for the season, the Saints’ passing game has struggled this campaign.  In the victory over the Panthers in week 17, Marquez Callaway who’s emerged as the New Orleans number one receiver had six catches for 97 yards.  Callaway is the team’s leading receiver with 46 catches for 698 yards.  Additionally, he leads the club with six receiving touchdowns: while averaging an impressive 15.2 yards per reception this season.  Deonte Harris is second on the team in receiving yards with 546.  He also has 33 receptions, averaging 16.5 yards a grab.

The Saints’ defense is allowing 322.1 yards per game in total offense, eighth in the league and 19.7 points per game to their opponents this season, ranking them fourth in the NFL.  

In the victory over the Panthers, the Saints defense was dominate with seven sacks.  Cameron Jordan was at the center of New Orleans’ defensive havoc in week 17.  He had six solo tackles, 3.5 sacks and three tackles for loss.  Jordan has 11.5 sacks this season: tenth in the NFL.  

New Orleans Saints Depth Chart

QB: Taysom Hill
RB1: Alvin Kamara
RB2: Mark Ingram II
WR1: Tre’Quan Smith
WR2: Marquez Callaway
WR3: Lil’Jordan Humphrey
TE1: Adam Trautman

Atlanta Falcons Analysis

Atlanta is ranked 26th in the NFL in total offense with 306.7 yards.  They’re scoring 18.3 points per game, ranking them 27th in the league.  

In the loss to Buffalo on the road in week 17, Matt Ryan had a quiet game not able to elevate his play against a tough Bills defense.  He was 13-23 for 197 yards without a touchdown for an 84.9 passer rating.  He has thrown fewer than two touchdown passes in eight straight games. This season the 2016 NFL MVP has thrown for 3,752 yards while throwing 19 touchdowns with a 67.4 completion percentage.  He has thrown 366 touchdown passes in 221 career games, tied for ninth all-time.  Ryan can still win games in the NFL if he has a reliable supporting cast, will Atlanta look to bring in some more firepower for their long-time signal caller or will the Falcons look to find Ryan’s replacement in the 2022 draft? 

On the season Kyle Pitts he has 66 receptions for 1,018 yards, which is the most receiving yards among rookies in Falcons’ history.  Surprisingly he only has one touchdown this season.  In the week 17 loss to Buffalo, he averaged 34.5 yards per reception.  He’s had at least 100 yards receiving in three games this season.  Per, all other rookie tight ends have combined for one such game in Atlanta history.  With his speed, physicality, and ability to get open, Pitts is already one of the top tight ends in the NFL.  The fourth pick in the 2021 draft is only the second rookie tight end in NFL history to have 1,000 receiving yards in a season.  Mike Ditka holds the record with 1,076 receiving yards in 1961, which Pitts could surpass in the regular season finale vs. New Orleans.   

After playing the last two seasons with the Chicago Bears as a kick returner and part-time running back/wide receiver, gaining 550 yards of total offense in both seasons combined, Cordarrelle Patterson has been one of the most surprising players in the 2021 season.  Listed as a running back, Patterson has rushed for a team leading 607 yards on 149 carries while catching 51 passes for 547 yards.  A Pro-Bowl snub, the former first round pick of the Vikings has a career-high 11 touchdowns this season; he had 10 touchdowns in the previous four years.  

Defensively, the Falcons are allowing 364.1 yards of total offense to their opponents this season, ranking them 23rd in the NFL.  Ranked 29th in the league, Atlanta is allowing 26.8 points per game.

Atlanta Falcons Depth Chart

QB: Matt Ryan
RB1: Cordarrelle Patterson 
RB2: Mike Davis
WR1: Tajae Sharpe
WR2: Russell Gage
WR3: Olamide Zaccheaus
TE1: Kyle Pitts

New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons Daily Fantasy Picks

Li’lJordan Humphrey is a receiver who could play a big role for the Saints in the future.   He has five receptions in the last two weeks, averaging 48 yards per game.  On the season, the former Texas Longhorn is averaging 18.6 yards per catch.  

Younghoe Koo has made at least two field goals in a game 27 times since joining the Falcons in 2019.   On the season, Koo has made 27 field goals and is 28 of 28 on extra point attempts for 103 points.  

Scott has been a sports fan since he received a New York Mets jacket as a toddler. He’s been playing fantasy baseball and football for over 20 years, dating back to Frank Thomas being one of his first fantasy baseball picks. As a professional, he has covered the NFL, MLB, NCAAF, and NCAAB and is looked to as the go-to guy for fantasy sports amongst family, friends, and co-workers.

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