Sunday, December 6, 2020, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia 1 p.m. ET
Saints at Falcons Betting Preview: Saints (-3/-102), Falcons (+3/-110)
New Orleans Saints
The Saints haven’t thrown a touchdown pass since Drew Brees got injured in a win against the 49ers three weeks ago. But they’re finding other ways to win. Taysom Hill has run for four touchdowns in his two starts in Brees’ place and Latavius Murray had two touchdowns and a 100-yard day in a win against Denver last week.
Brees (ribs/lung) isn’t eligible to come off of injured reserve for another week, so Hill will start again and lean on All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas and dual-threat running back Alvin Kamara.
The New Orleans defense has ascended to the top of the NFL in yards allowed (284.9 per game), second in rushing yards allowed (76.6), fifth in passing yards (208.3) and fifth in points allowed (20.5). It has made 10 interceptions in the last four games, including two against Matt Ryan in a 24-9 win against the Falcons two weeks ago.
The Falcons managed just three field goals and were shut out in the second half of the first game against the Saints, but if they can take the ball away five times — as they did in a 43-6 victory against Las Vegas last week, the points will come more easily. Atlanta couldn’t run effectively against the Saints, who battered Ryan for eight sacks after his offense became one-dimensional. The Falcons have emphasized doing a better job with the running game this week and if they can, Ryan can still be very effective.
He will be helped if running back Todd Gurley (knee) and receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) can play after missing the game against the Raiders. Both returned to practice on a limited basis on Wednesday. Wideout Calvin Ridley has been limited by a foot injury but has played through it.
One of the takeaways against the Raiders was linebacker Deion Jones’ pick-six against Derek Carr and the Falcons have played much better defense since interim head coach Raheem Morris replaced the fired Dan Quinn. Atlanta (4-7) is 4-2 under Morris.
Saints at Falcons Betting Pick for Week 13
The Falcons are a much-improved team under Morris and they will be better prepared for Hill’s dual-threat game after seeing it two weeks ago. But the Saints are playing too well in all three phases for the Falcons to end the winning streak.
Saints at Falcons Betting Pick:
Saints 23, Falcons 20
Saints at Falcons Best Bet for Week 13
These teams combined for just 33 points in the first meeting. Both defenses are getting better by the week and both offenses have key players banged up.
Saints at Falcons Best Bet: UNDER 46.5 total points (-104)