Sunday, November 22, 2020, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1 p.m. ET
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints Betting Preview: Falcons (+4.5/-105), Saints (-4.5/-115)
The Falcons don’t have to face Drew Brees, but they weren’t fazed the last time they faced him in the Superdome. It was Brees’ second game back from a five-game absence due to thumb surgery and the Falcons ended the Saints’ six-game winning streak with a dominant 26-9 triumph last season.
Atlanta is familiar with both Jameis Winston, from his time in Tampa Bay, and Taysom Hill, who both figure to see action in place of Brees, who is sidelined indefinitely by rib and lung injuries.
The Falcons are 3-6, but they are 2-1 after winning their last two under interim head coach Raheem Morris going into their bye last week. Their passing game is still one of the most dangerous in the NFL with Matt Ryan throwing to Julio Jones, though Calvin Ridley’s availability is uncertain due to a foot injury.
In his last four games, Ryan has completed 72.8 percent for an average of 318.5 yards with eight touchdowns and two interceptions. Todd Gurley has nine rushing touchdowns but is averaging just 3.7 yards per attempt. Since Morris took over, Atlanta is allowing the third-fewest rushing yards per game (86.5) and the fifth-lowest third-down conversion percentage (32.6).
New Orleans Saints
The Saints (7-2) went 5-0 without Brees last season, but that was with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback. Winston completed 6 of 10 passes for 63 yards while playing most of the second half in Brees’ absence after the injury against San Francisco last week. Hill ran eight times for 45 yards and lost a fumble.
Whoever plays quarterback will rely heavily on running back Alvin Kamara, who is No. 2 in NFL in yards from scrimmage, and All-Pro wideout Michael Thomas. Kamara is averaging 4.7 yards per rush, has caught 67 passes and has scored touchdowns on seven rushes and four receptions. Thomas, who is recovering from ankle and hamstring injuries that sidelined him for more than a month, had 13 catches for 152 yards in the loss to the Falcons last season. New Orleans won the rematch 26-16 on Thanksgiving to clinch its third consecutive NFC South title.
The Saints have won six straight and the defense has been exceptional in the last two games. They have seven takeaways (two by special teams) in the last two games and rank second in run defense.
Falcons at Saints Betting Pick for Week 11
Kamara is having an MVP-caliber season and the defense is getting healthier and better, which will help mitigate Brees’ absence. Kicker Wil Lutz, punter Thomas Morstead and All-Pro return specialist Deonte Harris will help put New Orleans over the top.
Falcons at Saints Betting Pick:
Saints 26, Falcons 24
Falcons at Saints Best Bet for Week 11
Brees’ absence will be felt most in the red zone, where touchdowns will be less likely than field goals. Both teams have been playing their best defense of the season of late, so don’t look for a shootout.
Falcons at Saints Best Bet:
UNDER 50.5 total points (-110)