FALCONS (5-0) AT SAINTS (1-4), 8:25 p.m.
TV: Ch. 2, NFL; Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)
Falcons by 31/2; O/U: 52
Of the six undefeated teams in the NFL, the 5-0 Falcons are one of the biggest surprises.
Of the eight one-win teams, the 1-4 Saints are one of the biggest disappointments.
The NFC South rivals meet tonight, and unlike years past, it's the Falcons who are flying high while the Saints' biggest story line is whether coach Sean Payton will be the Dolphins coach next year. Drew Brees is 13-5 straight up against the Falcons since joining the Saints in 2006. But two of those losses were last year.
The Saints used to be one of the safest bets at home. Now, they're a total stay-away team. It's not those Saints.
They lost outright as 10-point favorites to the Bucs at home in Week 2. The Saints have allowed the third-most points per game (28.6) and most yards (409). Even the offensively-challenged Eagles looked like a juggernaut against them last week, scoring 39 points while totaling 519 yards and 186 rushing yards.
Expect another bird team to prey on that defense tonight. The Falcons are averaging 32.4 points and 406.2 yards per game. Matt Ryan to Julio Jones is one of the best passing combos in the league, but the breakout star has been Devonta Freeman. The second-year back has rushed for 405 yards and eight touchdowns, three more than any other player. Jones is battling a hamstring injury, and even if he can't play, I think Atlanta has enough weapons to cover the spread.
In a spot like this, I usually lean toward the more desperate team, especially if they're getting points at home. But I ain't trusting this Saints team, so let me spell it out again:
The pick: Falcons
KIMBERLEY A. MARTIN: Falcons
TOM ROCK: Falcons
BOB GLAUBER: Saints