A big day in the Big Easy today as the New Orleans Saints will be hosting the division rival Atlanta Falcons. But this won’t be the usual match up we’re accustomed to seeing between these two teams. Familiarity is out the window, at least from the Saints’ perspective. On Sunday, the Saints will be starting Taysom Hill at quarterback. Hill, the often referred to as “Swiss army knife”, looks to be on the way to getting his first start of his career. And despite not starting Drew Brees, who has now suffered 11 rib fractures and a collapsed lung, per. ESPN’s Ed Werder, the Saints are still favored by roughly five points according to Sports Betting Dime.
Straight Up: Atlanta (+195), New Orleans (-225)
ATS: Atlanta (+5), New Orleans (-5)
O/U: o50.5 (-110), u50.5 (-110)
As we break down the spread, we’ll look at the odds the previous eight times Brees hasn’t been the starter since 2006, how the Falcons have fared against the spread so far this season, and just for fun, take a quick look at the Falcons vs. more mobile or play-extending quarterbacks so far this year.
Saints Without Brees
The New Orleans Saints have only had eight games since 2006 in which Drew Brees did not play at quarterback. Some were due to injury, others simply rest to end the season. Wins are in bold.
January 3, 2010: +10 at Carolina Panthers
September 27, 2015: +9.5 at Carolina Panthers
December 30, 2018: -8.5 at vs. Carolina Panthers
September 22, 2019: +5 at Seattle Seahawks
September 29, 2019: +2.5 vs. Dallas Cowboys
October 6, 2019: -3 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
October 13, 2019: +2.5 at Jacksonville Jaguars
October 20, 2019: + 4 at Chicago Bears
So as you can see, the Saints are now 5-3 straight up without Brees thanks to Teddy Bridgewater. Obviously Teddy turned the tide as one of the Saints’ starter-quality backups of the last few years, Saints QB Coach Joe Lombardi believes the team still has three starting quality option in the quarterback room. Taysom Hill looks to have the opportunity to prove it against a familiar opponent. In those eight games the Saints are also 6-2 against the spread and have hit the over and under each four times.
This year’s Falcons team has been a bit of an anomaly. They started off 0-5 leading to the long-deserved firing of head coach Dan Quinn. Now, under Raheem Morris, the team is 3-1 both straight up and against the spread having improved their record to 3-6 on the season thus far. They are now coming off a bye week and while Morris has not been the coach in those situations over the last five seasons, he has been with the team and a part of it’s regimen through those years during which Atlanta is 3-2 off the bye.
With wins against the Vikings, Panthers, and Broncos it is fair to question Atlanta’s actual ability to threat the Saints who have a winning record on the season including six straight wins. Atlanta is currently 4-5 against the spread and have hit the over five times to the under four times throughout their 3-6 start to the season.
In considering their opponents, the Falcons are also 2-2 in the four games they’ve been underdogs o far this season with wins against the Vikings and Panthers. The Vikings have gotten considerably better since that loss and the Panthers have been on a downward spiral since they lost to the Saints.
Falcons vs. Mobile QBs
Considering the Saints will be starting Taysom Hill, a more mobile threat at QB, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the Falcons’ games against the most mobile quarterbacks they’ve faced so far. And to be clear, this is about mobility in tuck and run situations, yes, but more importantly about quarterbacks who can simply extend plays as well such as Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys.
In those games, the Falcons are 0-3 straight up, 1-2 against the spread, and hit the over against Seattle and Dallas, but not with Green Bay. Those three teams scored 36 points per game and the quarterbacks averaged 383.3 total yards in each along with a 133.3 passer rating.
Now it is very obvious that there’s no reason to expect this kind of production from Taysom Hill. All three of these quarterbacks have been firmly implanted in MVP conversations at some point or another since the start of the season. Prescott’s incredible early season run of course gruesomely cut short by injury. However, it is clear that this type of signal caller has given the Falcons trouble early in the season. Seeing how they and Raheem Morris adjust to match the Saints’ gameplan with a mobile quarterback will be interesting.
Especially interesting because we have never seen this, a full-time mobile quarterback in Sean Payton’s system. If nothing else, this game should be remarkably exciting, potentially giving a glimpse at what at least one of the options for the post-Brees Saints could look like.
What did you think of the Saints’ win? Let us know in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC , “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @RossJacksonNOLA and subscribe to my daily Saints podcast, Locked On Saints.