The Saints beat their divisional rivals, the Buccaneers, last Sunday to get within one win of Tom Brady’s team in the standings. Sadly, the Saints lost Jameis Winston to a season-ending injury, which has put their Super Bowl hopes in doubt.
Can they fight through that quarterback injury and beat the Falcons in Sunday’s NFC South clash? Be sure to read our NFL picks and predictions for the Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints on Sunday, November 7.
Falcons vs Saints odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
The line opened with the Saints as 5.5-point favorites, which has grown to 6 points. The points total has moved from 43 to 42.
Falcons vs Saints picks
Picks made on 11/4/2021 at 8:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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Falcons vs Saints game info
• Location: Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, LA
• Date: Sunday, November 7, 2021
• Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
• TV: FOX
Falcons at Saints betting preview
Falcons: Jonathan Bullard DT (Out), Calvin Ridley WR (Out), Dante Fowler LB (Out).
Saints: Juwan Johnson TE (Out), Ty Montgomery WR (Out), Jameis Winston QB (Out), Andrus Peat G (Out).
Find our latest NFL injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Under is 5-0 in the past five meetings between the teams. Find more NFL betting trends for Falcons vs. Saints.
Falcons vs Saints predictions
Falcons +6.0 (-110)
The Saints had quietly been going about their business after a slow start to the season, losing to both the Panthers and Giants in their first four games. A 36-27 victory over Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday was a real statement, but the game will be remembered for Jameis Winston going down injured. Winston is now out for the season and Trevor Siemian, who replaced him on Sunday, is likely to backup Taysom Hill, who had a concussion.
Winston wasn’t having an incredible season, but he was doing his job, and there is a clear drop with Taysom Hill under center. Despite that, we saw the Saints open as 5.5-point favorites, and even saw that spread increase to 6 over the past couple of days.
The reason for the public money backing the Saints has to be based around their defense. The Saints defense is ranked third overall in defensive DVOA, behind only the Bills and Cardinals. They’ve been particularly dominant at stopping the run, limiting opposing offenses to just 79.4 yards per game on the ground, the second-best mark in the league.
With the Saints chasing the Bucs at the top of the division, it’s easy to forget that the Falcons are also in the NFC South. Sitting on a 3-4 record, the Falcons have struggled at times this year. The departure of Julio Jones was meant to see Calvin Ridley becoming the man on offense, but the former Alabama man has stepped away from the game to work on some personal issues. Fourth overall pick at this year’s NFL Draft, Kyle Pitts, has stepped up in his absence. After a slow start to his career, we saw Pitts break out when the Falcons beat the Jets in Week 5. In his past three games, he’s averaging 98 yards and has 18 receptions.
Can the Falcons, with their makeshift offense, go into New Orleans and leave the Super Dome with the win? It’s going to be tough, especially with a defense ranked 30th in the league in defensive DVOA and a soft underbelly, but I believe that they’ll perform well, covering the spread, if not winning outright.
As we enter Week 9, the Saints are 29th in the league in offensive yards per game, putting up fewer offensive yards than the likes of the Jets and Lions. They’ve managed to earn their 5-2 record on the back of a strong defense that has kept them in games even when the offense has been sputtering. The Falcons aren’t a great team, and they’re missing pieces, but they’re up against an offense who won’t be able to take advantage of their defensive fragility, and I’m taking the Falcons to cover the spread here.
Under 42.0 (-110)
The Under looks like a real home-run hit here. Let’s look at the facts: We have the Saints, a strong defense with a poor offense and a backup quarterback against the Falcons, a poor defense and a mediocre offense with a number of receivers missing, who won’t be able to rely on the ground game. This just seems too simple.
When it comes to putting points on the board, the Saints are without Winston and Michael Thomas for the year and the Falcons are missing Ridley. The Saints RB duo of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram are great, but I can’t see them putting up touchdown after touchdown. The Falcons will struggle on the ground against this great run defense and have only Kyle Pitts as a top-tier receiving option. This game screams low-scoring, so take the Under before the total drops further.
Matt Ryan Over 0.5 interceptions (-155)
This isn’t a huge price, but it’s one which simply has to be taken. As we’ve already outlined, the Falcons are without their best receiving option in Calvin Ridley and will be playing some lesser targets from the receiver room.
Crucially, we’re going to see a lot of Matt Ryan passing the football. The Saints, as mentioned above, have the second-best run defense in the league behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which will force Ryan to throw, so we’ll see lots of Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson in the passing game.
Ryan only has six interceptions this season, through seven games, but last time he faced an elite run defense, in Week Two against the Bucs, he threw three interceptions. We might not see that many on Sunday, but we should see at least one.