Preview: Atlanta at New Orleans

When: 8:30 PM ET, Monday, September 26, 2016
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

The New Orleans Saints will commemorate one of the more noteworthy games in franchise history when they host the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night in a matchup of longtime NFC South rivals. It will mark the 10-year anniversary of the re-opening of the Superdome after the venue was forced to close for one season in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

While emotions certainly will not be as high as in New Orleans' win over Atlanta a decade ago, the Saints can use any edge to avoid an 0-3 start after dropping their first two games by a combined four points. "This is an important division game," said New Orleans coach Sean Payton, readily acknowledging the significance is far less than the game from 2006. "One team is 0-2 and trying to get a win, and another team that's 1-1." The Falcons rebounded from a 31-24 home loss to Tampa Bay in Week 1 with a 35-28 road win last week at Oakland, which squeezed out a 35-34 victory at New Orleans in the season opener. 

TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Saints -3. O/U: 53.5

ABOUT THE FALCONS (1-1): Matt Ryan had his fewest touchdown passes (21) since his rookie season in 2015, but he off to a fast start with 730 yards passing with five scores and one interception while leading the league with a 121.4 quarterback rating. There is cause for concern in the passing game with star wide receiver Julio Jones sitting out his second straight practice Friday due to a calf injury, but Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said he expects him to play. The Falcons are receiving solid production from the backfield tandem of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, who have combined for 181 rushing yards and 11 receptions. Atlanta's defense ranks 29th overall, allowing an average of 412.5 yards per game.

ABOUT THE SAINTS (0-2): New Orleans was horrendous on defense last season and little has changed -- it ranked 31st in the league with a staggering 451.5 yards surrendered and has been torched through the air for an average of 336.0 yards. Keeping the defense off the field would be easier if the Saints could crank up their running game, with lead back Mark Ingram producing 88 rushing yards on only 21 attempts, including nine carries in last week's 19-16 loss at the New York Giants. "From a rushing standpoint, I think we had some early positive runs, and all of a sudden we end up with the game over and only 13 rushing attempts (overall)," Payton said of the Week 2 loss. "I don't like the balance there." Quarterback Drew Brees has a potent receiving duo in Willie Snead and Brandon Cooks, who have combined for 27 catches and four touchdowns.


1. The Saints are 15-5 versus Atlanta since Payton and Brees joined the team, including a season sweep in 2015.

2. Jones has nine receptions for 149 yards in the last meeting against New Orleans.

3. Cooks has a touchdown catch in six consecutive home games.

PREDICTION: Saints 30, Falcons 27

Stats and Records

Team Comparison

  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
Atlanta 1-1 W1 29.5 29.5 0-1 1-0 1-0 0-1 0-0 0-1 0-1
New Orleans 0-2 L2 23.5 25.5 0-1 0-1 0-0 0-2 0-0 0-0 0-1

Last Meeting

Atlanta New Orleans
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
1/3/16 NO 20 ATL 17 414 87 327 390 67 323

Player Stats

Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
ATL M. Ryan 66.7 334 2 1
NO D. Brees 76.2 323 1 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
ATL D. Freeman 25 76 3.0 0
NO T. Hightower 16 66 4.1 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
ATL J. Jones 9 149 16.6 0
NO B. Coleman 5 81 16.2 0
TDs Player TD
ATL D. Freeman 1
NO T. Hightower 1
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
ATL M. Ryan 72.6 730 5 1
NO D. Brees 66.3 686 5 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
ATL D. Freeman 28 113 4.0 0
NO M. Ingram 21 88 4.2 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
ATL J. Jones 9 172 19.1 2
NO W. Snead IV 14 226 16.1 2
TDs Player TD
ATL J. Jones 2
NO B. Cooks 2

Quickchart Matchup

Atlanta Off vs  New Orleans Def
451 yards
451.5 yards
3.7 yards/rush
4 yards/rush
9.7 yards/attempt
8.5 yards/attempt
New Orleans Off vs  Atlanta Def
397.5 yards
412.5 yards
3.7 yards/rush
4.6 yards/rush
7.7 yards/attempt
7.5 yards/attempt

Matchup Stats - Full Matchup

Atlanta Overall New Orleans
1-1 W/L 0-2
1-1-0 ATS 1-1-0
2-0-0 O/U 1-1-0
29.5 Pts For 23.5
29.5 Pts Against 25.5
Atlanta A/H New Orleans
1-0 W/L 0-1
1-0-0 ATS 0-1-0
1-0-0 O/U 1-0-0
35.0 Pts For 34.0
28.0 Pts Against 35.0