TV Schedule: Thursday, Nov. 21, 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Stadium: Georgia Dome
Weather: High 62, Low 47
Line: New Orleans (-7.5)
Heading into week 12, the New Orleans Saints are 8-2 and are highly considered one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. It looks like the Saints are playing at their best level in years and it’s almost a refreshing sight to see. Drew Brees has been typical Drew Brees, passing for 3,369 yards and 26 touchdowns as the Saints rank second in the league in passing yards per game. While Marques Colston isn’t his favorite target this season like he usually is, tight end Jimmy Graham has risen up to take that distinction, catching 60 passes for 846 yards and 10 touchdowns. Colston is second on the team with 39 catches for 529 yards and just two scores. New Orleans isn’t known for its run game, ranking 23rd in the league behind Pierre Thomas who has 413 yards and a touchdown.
It has been a year of disappointments for the Atlanta Falcons. People were hyping this team up as a Super Bowl contender and some people’s favorite to win it all in 2013. However, poor play and some devastating injuries have led to a 2-8 record through 10 games — no one saw that coming. Matt Ryan was a preseason MVP candidate, but has seen some of his top weapons go down with injuries, including Steven Jackson, Julio Jones and Roddy White. Ryan has passed for 2,868 yards and 18 touchdowns while hitting his new favorite target, Harry Douglas, 51 times for 754 yards and two touchdowns. Jones will be out for the season and the team is just getting their running back, Jackson, back. They may have a shot at the playoffs if they win out, but that’s unlikely in the NFL.
Defensively, the Saints have been a completely different unit than they were a season ago. Rob Ryan has made all the difference, leading the team to be one of the best defenses in the NFL. New Orleans ranks fourth in total yards allowed, third in passing yards allowed and fifth in points allowed per game. Atlanta, on the other hand, has not been as successful. The Falcons rank 26th in total yards allowed and 30th in rushing yards allowed.
PREDICTION: Saints 35, Falcons 24