After a strange game last weekend, the Saints may be welcoming their upcoming and familiar competition against the Atlanta Falcons. New Orleans, now in their second of three-straight road games, will travel to the capital city of Georgia to square off with their bitter division rivals. After taking the first game of this year’s series just two weeks ago, everyone is wondering whether or not lightening can strike twice int he form of Taysom Hill who will look to cap off his third victory in a row as he stands in for the injured Drew Brees.
As of Saturday, the Saints are favored in this matchup by -2.5 to -3 points.
Straight-Up: New Orleans (-148), Atlanta (+130)
Against The Spread: New Orleans (-2.5), Atlanta (+2.5)
O/U: o45.5 (-110), u45.5 (-110)
Vs. the Atlanta Falcons
The New Orleans Saints have been very success in their division. Since 2006, they have gone 55-33 against NFC South opponents in the regular season. Against the rival Falcons in particular they’ve been extremely successful, especially straight up. The Saints are currently 20-9 in games against Atlanta. Against the spread they’ve gone 17-12 and as for over/under, they have hit the over 17 times, to 12 on the under.
While this line has continued to move a bit, the -2.5 spread is the lowest line for a Saints favored matchup this season. 2.5 points is also the tightest favorable line the Saints have had going into a Falcons game. The last -2.5-point spread for New Orleans was Week 3 of 2016 when the Saints lost at home 32-45. All told since 2006 though, they have still be successful even against tightly favored spread or as underdogs against Atlanta. When favored by 2.5 or fewer points or when playing as underdogs, New Orleans is 8-5 straight up and 9-4 against the spread. The majority of those games have been on the road in Atlanta.
Second Divisional Game
Warren Sharp of Sharp Football Stats put out an alarming stat back in May after the NFL schedule was released regarding a situation the Saints are about to face; a second divisional contest in three weeks.
Crazy NFL schedule stat— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) May 8, 2020
Teams played each other twice in three weeks just 23 times since 2000.
The record in the rematch of the team that WON the first meeting?
From 23-0 to 7-16.
It will happen 5 times in 2020:
ATL & NO
ATL & TB
IND & HOU
IND & TEN
MIA & NYJ
Since 2006, New Orleans has played a schedule like this four times since Brees and Payton arrived. In games in which the Saints have played a divisional opponent twice in three weeks, their record is evenly split 2-2. That is regardless of whether or not they won the first of those two games.
In the two instances in which they won the first and play the same team within three weeks, New Orleans has lost both matchups.
Generally, however, the Saints fare pretty well in the second game vs. divisional opponents going 26-17 since 2006. Their record in the second game against the Falcons has been particularly impressive. After going 5-9 in the second matchups with the Panthers and 10-5 against the Bucs (who the Saints have already played their second game against this year), New Orleans is 11-3 in their second yearly contest against the Falcons.
During those 14 seasons, the Saints have swept the series seven times. They’ll be looking for their eighth sweep in that timeframe on Sunday.
Alvin Kamara and Taysom Hill
One of the big storylines since Taysom Hill has assumed the Saints’ starting quarterback role, aside from the multi-threat player himself, has been whether or not Alvin Kamara and Hill can co-exist in this offense together. Hill covering for Brees has had some adverse effects on Kamara, particularly in the passing game. Two of the running back’s three lowest scrimmage yards totals of the season have come with Taysom Hill at QB. His lowest career receiving yardage totals (0 and -2) have come in the last two games.
Even the Red Zone has become an issue because of how much the Saints like to use “QB Power” with Hill in that area. In the nine games before Hill was named the full-time starter in place of Brees, Kamara had 37 total redzone touches with 10 total redzone touchdowns. Since then, he’s had three carries in striking distance and one touchdown with no receptions. All of those came against the Falcons in Week 11. While it wasn’t in the redzone, at least Kamara notched a reception against the Denver Broncos
Kamara has only had three three one-reception games in his career. Here’s what the games that immediately followed looked like.
After catching just one pass (albeit a 35-yard touchdown) in Week 11 of the 2018 season, he followed up with another one catch game for only one catch for nine yards on Thanksgiving Day against the Atlanta Falcons. He then followed that performance up in Week 13 with eight receptions for 36 yards and no scores.
The next time he only caught one pass in a game came in Week 2 for only 15 yards. This was the game, infamously, in which Drew Brees suffered his UCL injury and would go on to miss five games. Teddy Bridgewater quickly got Kamara back into the fold the very next week in Seattle targeting him 10 times. Kamara reeled in nine receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown as the Saints went on to stun the Seattle Seahawks.
These last two weeks, Kamara has caught one pass for -2 yards. It will be interesting to see if there is a concerted effort to get the former third-round draft pick more involved in the offense. Something to keep in mind for some of the following prop bets from Sports Betting Dime.
I’m actually kind of a fan of the line for Latavius Murray to score the game’s first rushing touchdown. Atlanta may be allowing amongst the fewest rushing yards in the NFL, but they are still allowing 4.3 yards per carry.
Hill Passing Yards: 194.5
Hill Longest Completion: 29.5
Hill Total Completions: 18.0
Ryan Passing Yards: 286.0
Ryan Total Completions: 24.5
Kamara Yards from Scrimmage: 87.5
Kamara Rushing Yards: 56.5
Kamara Total Receptions: 3.5
Saints Turnovers: 1.5
Falcons Turnovers: 1.5
ODDS FOR MOST PASSING YARDS
Ryan: 1/8 (-800)
Hill: 9/1 (+900)
FIELD: 90/1 (+9000)
ODDS TO SCORE FIRST RUSHING TD OF THE GAME
Gurley: 2/1 (+200)
Kamara: 3/1 (+300)
Murray: 6/1 (+600)
Hill: 6/1 (+600)
FIELD or no rushing TD: 11/1 (+1100)
ODDS TO SCORE FIRST RECEIVING TD OF THE GAME
Ridley: 6/1 (+600)
M. Thomas: 8/1 (+800)
J. Jones: 10/1 (+1000)
Hurst: 12/1 (+1200)
Sanders: 13/1 (+1300)
Kamara: 13/1 (+1300)
Cook: 13/1 (+1300)
FIELD or no passing TD: 9/5 (+180)
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.