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Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints Pick & Prediction NOV 22TH 2020

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Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints Recap NOV 22TH 2020

Matt Ryan threw two touchdown passes and the visiting Atlanta Falcons ended a six-game losing streak by stopping the New Orleans Saints' six-game winning streak, 26-9 on Sunday afternoon.

Ryan, who completed 20 of 35 for 182 yards, threw scoring passes of 8 yards to Austin Hooper and 10 yards to Brian Hill for the game's only touchdowns.

The Falcons (2-7) limited Drew Brees and the Saints offense to three Wil Lutz field goals.

Brees, playing in his second game after a five-game absence due to thumb surgery, completed 32 of 45 passes for 287 yards and was sacked six times by a defense that had seven sacks entering the game.

Thirteen of those completions (for 152 yards) went to Michael Thomas, the NFL's leading receiver who also made his 400th career reception.

Thomas reached that milestone faster than any other receiver in NFL history, doing so in his 56th career game and surpassing Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr.'s standard of 61 games. Thomas (407) also broke Browns receiver Jarvis Landry's record for catches (400) in the first four seasons of an NFL career.

The Saints (7-2) committed 12 penalties for 90 yards and gave Atlanta six first downs via penalty. Both teams were coming off a bye week.

After Lutz's 28-yard field goal cut the Falcons' seven-point halftime lead to 13-9 after three quarters, Ryan and Hill connected for their touchdown seven seconds into the fourth quarter.

Younghoe Koo, making his Falcons debut, added his third and fourth field goals from 48 and 30 yards.

It was the 100th regular-season meeting between the two long-time division rivals and Atlanta increased its lead in the series to 52-48.

Koo made a 37-yard field goal and Lutz made a 29-yarder as the first quarter ended with the score tied at 3.

Ryan's touchdown pass to Hooper gave the Falcons the lead for good early in the second quarter.

Koo kicked a 36-yard field goal and Lutz kicked a 47-yarder as time expired, leaving Atlanta with a 13-6 halftime lead.

--Field Level Media

The New Orleans Saints are without Drew Brees again but the supporting cast behind him has changed.

 

The Saints went 5-0 with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback in 2019 while Brees recovered from thumb surgery.

 

Now they face the visiting Atlanta Falcons on Sunday as Brees begins an indefinite absence due to rib and lung injuries. Former Tampa Bay starter Jameis Winston is expected to replace Brees, though Taysom Hill could also take some snaps from center in addition to his usual reps at a variety of skill positions.

 

"They are different type players," Saints coach Sean Payton said of Winston and Hill. "We want efficient play from that position."

 

That's what they got from Bridgewater last season in victories against Seattle, Dallas, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville and Chicago, earning Bridgewater a starting position in Carolina via free agency.

 

Winston has a similar opportunity to show that he, too, is ready to handle a starting position again, though Hill is considered a potential successor to the 41-year-old Brees.

 

Whoever plays quarterback Sunday will try to get the football regularly to Alvin Kamara, who is second in the NFL in yards from scrimmage. Kamara leads the Saints in both rushing and receiving yards, is averaging 4.7 yards per carry and has scored 11 total touchdowns.

 

The Saints (7-2) have won six straight games, including a 27-13 home victory against San Francisco last Sunday. Winston and Hill shared snaps in the second half after Brees was injured in the second quarter.

 

Winston completed 6 of 10 passes for 63 yards and Hill rushed eight times for 45 yards and lost a fumble.

 

New Orleans had its most significant injury report of the season Wednesday. In addition to Brees, defensive end Cameron Jordan (back), wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith (concussion) and tight end Josh Hill (concussion) missed practice.

 

Atlanta (3-6) is coming off its bye and is 3-1 under interim head coach Raheem Morris since he replaced the fired Dan Quinn. The Falcons won their last two games before the bye, including a 34-27 victory against Denver on Nov. 8.

 

"We're stressing finishing games," Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell said. "We've been playing well, especially the last couple of games. We have to finish and put games away. If we do that, we'll finish the season strong."

 

The Saints didn't play the Falcons during Brees' absence last season. The NFC South rivals split their meetings as visiting Atlanta prevailed 26-9 in Brees' second game back and New Orleans prevailed 26-18 on Thanksgiving night to clinch its third consecutive NFC South title.

 

"We know they are going to come ready to play," Morris said. "Everybody probably felt the same way when they went 5-0 with Teddy. They are not going to sneak up on anybody. We'll be ready."

 

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, like Brees until recently, has stayed healthy for virtually his entire 13-year career.

 

"You have to be lucky," Ryan said. "I'm very proud of the fact that in the better part of 13 years I've only missed three games.

 

"It's been a lot of fun to play in this matchup for a long time. I think (New Orleans) has been a team that we've gone against that's been good for the better part of the last decade."

 

Atlanta, which hosts New Orleans in two weeks, likely will be without defensive end Dante Fowler, who was placed on the reserve/COVID list last Saturday. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley was limited in practice Wednesday because of a foot injury.

 

--Field Level Media

 

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GAMES

Last 10

W 30% L 70%
3 7
  • @New Orleans L 9 - 24
  • Denver W 27 - 34
  • @Carolina W 25 - 17
  • Detroit L 23 - 22
  • @Minnesota W 40 - 23
  • Carolina L 23 - 16
  • @Green Bay L 16 - 30
  • Chicago L 30 - 26
  • @Dallas L 39 - 40
  • Seattle L 38 - 25
W 80% L 20%
8 2
  • Atlanta W 9 - 24
  • San Francisco W 13 - 27
  • @Tampa Bay W 38 - 3
  • @Chicago W 26 - 23
  • Carolina W 24 - 27
  • L.A. Chargers W 27 - 30
  • @Detroit W 35 - 29
  • Green Bay L 37 - 30
  • @Las Vegas L 24 - 34
  • Tampa Bay W 23 - 34

Next Games

  • Las Vegas(10-14-12) W 20 - 23
  • New Orleans(11-28-19) L 26 - 18
  • @L.A. Chargers(09-23-12) W 27 - 3
  • Tampa Bay(11-24-19) L 35 - 22
  • @Kansas City(09-09-12) W 40 - 24
  • @Denver(10-28-12) L 14 - 34
  • @Atlanta(11-28-19) W 26 - 18
  • @Philadelphia(10-11-15) L 17 - 39
  • Kansas City(08-09-13) W 13 - 17
  • Minnesota(01-05-20) L 26 - 20

Last Meetings

  • Falcons @ Saints 9-24
  • Saints @ Falcons 26-18
  • Falcons @ Saints 26-9
  • Falcons @ Saints 17-31
  • Saints @ Falcons 43-37
  • Falcons @ Saints 13-23
  • Saints @ Falcons 17-20
  • Saints @ Falcons 32-38
  • Falcons @ Saints 45-32
  • Saints @ Falcons 20-17

American Football Conference

AFC EastWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Buffalo Bills73 0.7000.00.00.0 4-13-27-0-3
Miami Dolphins64 0.6001.00.00.0 3-23-26-0-4
New England Patriots46 0.4003.00.00.0 3-21-44-0-6
New York Jets010 0.0007.00.00.0 0-50-50-0-10
AFC NorthWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Pittsburgh Steelers100 01.0000.00.00.0 5-05-010-0-0
Cleveland Browns73 0.7003.00.00.0 5-12-27-0-3
Baltimore Ravens64 0.6004.00.00.0 2-34-16-0-4
Cincinnati Bengals27 1.2227.50.00.0 2-20-52-1-7
AFC SouthWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Indianapolis Colts73 0.7000.00.00.0 4-13-27-0-3
Tennessee Titans73 0.7000.00.00.0 4-23-17-0-3
Houston Texans47 0.3643.50.00.0 2-32-44-0-6
Jacksonville Jaguars19 0.1006.00.00.0 1-40-51-0-9
AFC WestWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Kansas City Chiefs91 0.9000.00.00.0 4-15-09-0-1
Las Vegas Raiders64 0.6003.00.00.0 2-34-16-0-4
Denver Broncos46 0.4005.00.00.0 2-32-34-0-6
Los Angeles Chargers37 0.3006.00.00.0 2-31-43-0-7

National Football Conference

NFC EastWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Washington Football Team47 0.3640.00.00.0 3-31-43-0-7
Philadelphia Eagles36 1.3330.00.00.0 2-21-43-1-6
New York Giants37 0.3000.50.00.0 2-31-43-0-7
Dallas Cowboys38 0.2731.00.00.0 2-41-43-0-7
NFC NorthWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Green Bay Packers73 0.7000.00.00.0 3-14-27-0-3
Chicago Bears55 0.5002.00.00.0 2-33-25-0-5
Minnesota Vikings46 0.4003.00.00.0 1-43-24-0-6
Detroit Lions47 0.3643.50.00.0 1-43-34-0-6
NFC SouthWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
New Orleans Saints82 0.8000.00.00.0 5-13-18-0-2
Tampa Bay Buccaneers74 0.6361.50.00.0 3-24-27-0-3
Carolina Panthers47 0.3644.50.00.0 2-42-34-0-6
Atlanta Falcons37 0.3005.00.00.0 1-42-33-0-7
NFC WestWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Los Angeles Rams73 0.7000.00.00.0 4-03-37-0-3
Seattle Seahawks73 0.7000.00.00.0 5-02-37-0-3
Arizona Cardinals64 0.6001.00.00.0 3-23-26-0-4
San Francisco 49ers46 0.4003.00.00.0 1-43-24-0-6

Last Injuries

New Orleans Saints

  • Andrus Peat

    Concussion
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Peat left the previous game with a concussion, and it is undetermined if he will be cleared in time for Sunday's battle versus the Broncos.

  • Michael Thomas

    Ankle
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Thomas is hampered by an ankle injury, leaving his status against the Broncos on Sunday clouded.

  • Sheldon Rankins

    Knee
    Ques Sun | I-R

    Rankins has been placed on the Injured Reserve/Designated for Return list after recovering from MCL sprain. The team has three weeks to activate him.

  • Dwayne Washington

    Back
    Prob Sun | probable

    Washington has sat out the past three games with a back injury, but it is likely that he will return to action against the Broncos on Sunday.

  • Alvin Kamara

    Foot
    Prob Sun | probable

    Kamara is dealing with a foot injury, but it is anticipated that he will be active against the Broncos on Sunday.

  • Deonte Harris

    Stinger
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Harris has a stinger, and it remains to be seen if he will be active for Sunday's contest against the Broncos.

  • Ty Montgomery

    Hamstring
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Montgomery injured his hamstring, and it has yet to be determined if he will face the Broncos on Sunday.

  • Josh Hill

    Concussion
    Prob Sun | probable

    Hill was held out of the previous game with a concussion, but it is expected that he will pass the league-mandated protocol in time for Sunday's clash against the Broncos.

Atlanta Falcons

  • Foyesade Oluokun

    Knee
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Oluokun is hindered by a knee injury, and it is unknown if he will be a participant Sunday versus the Raiders.

  • Calvin Ridley

    Foot
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Ridley is tending to a foot injury, leaving his status against the Raiders on Sunday unknown.

  • Edmond Robinson

    Hamstring
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Robinson is bothered by a hamstring injury, and it has yet to be determined if he will suit up against the Raiders on Sunday.

  • Mykal Walker

    Hamstring
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Walker left the last game due to a hamstring injury, and it is uncertain if he will line up on Sunday against the Raiders.

  • Julio Jones

    Hamstring
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Jones exited the previous game due to left hamstring tightness, and it is unknown if he will draw back into the lineup on Sunday versus the Raiders.

  • Hayden Hurst

    Ankle
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Hurst has an injured ankle, and it has yet to be established if he will dress for Sunday's battle with the Raiders.

  • Grady Jarrett

    Knee
    Prob Sun | probable

    Jarrett is projected to take on the Raiders on Sunday despite a knee injury.

  • Qadree Ollison

    Illness
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Ollison is ailing from an illness, and it is uncertain if he will be a participant in Sunday's clash versus the Raiders.