Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
Atlanta Falcons Preview
The Atlanta Falcons used their bye week to make changes to the roster and coaching responsibilities after losing six straight to fall to 1-7. They brought in a new kicker and a new punter and rearranged responsibilities for three assistant coaches, but no coordinators. Perhaps of more significance is the fact that quarterback Matt Ryan is expected to return to the starting lineup after a one-game absence due to a high ankle sprain. Ryan will look for more support from a run game that’s averaging just 68.5 yards per game. The meeting will be the 100th in the regular-season between the division foes, with the Falcons having won 51 of the previous 99.
New Orleans Saints Preview
The New Orleans Saints (7-1) have been one of the hottest teams in the NFL, winning six straight games before their bye last week. Quarterback Drew Brees had an extra week to continue his recovery after returning from a five-game absence due to thumb surgery. He looked like his normal self, completing 34 of 43 for 373 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-9 victory against Arizona, though he did throw an interception for the third straight game. After extra time off, running back Alvin Kamara and tight Jared Cook should be able to return from two-game absences due to ankle injuries. The New Orleans defense has limited each of its last five opponents to fewer than 260 yards, and two of them failed to score touchdowns.