New Orleans Saints (1-1) at Atlanta Falcons (1-1)
This line is at 3, suggesting these two teams are about even. A couple weeks ago, that would have been true, but the Falcons have had serious injury losses early in the season, with running back Devonta Freeman, left guard Andy Levitre, defensive end Takkarist McKinley, linebacker Deion Jones, and safety Keanu Neal all going down in the first 2 weeks of the season. With the Falcons’ roster as it currently is, I have the Saints 5 points better than the Falcons, which would make this line around New Orleans -2.
The Saints have gotten off to a slow start, as they’ve failed to cover twice as big home favorites, losing to the Buccaneers week 1 and coming close to losing to the Browns week 2, which is probably why the line is where it is. I’m not that concerned though. Their schedule has been tougher than it originally looked, as the Buccaneers followed up their win with a win over the Saints, while the Browns could easily be 3-0 right now if they had a competent kicking unit.
The Saints have also typically gotten off to slow starts in recent years, going 2-12 ATS and 3-11 straight up in the first 2 weeks of the season since 2012, before going 50-38 ATS the rest of the year (4-2 ATS in week 3). It’s possible some of that slow start could carry over into this game, but I expect them to be completely focused for a big divisional game and they have the talent edge with the Falcons missing several key contributors. I’m not quite confident enough in the Saints for this to be my Pick of the Week this week, but this is too good of a number to pass on.
New Orleans Saints 33 Atlanta Falcons 30 Upset Pick +120
Pick against the spread: New Orleans +3