Falcons-Saints Preview Capsule
ATLANTA (1-7) at NEW ORLEANS (7-1)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX
OPENING LINE — Saints by 13 ½
RECORD VS. SPREAD — Falcons 2-6, Saints 6-2
SERIES RECORD — Falcons lead 52-48
LAST MEETING — Saints beat Falcons 31-17, Nov. 22, 2018
LAST WEEK — Falcons had bye, lost to Seahawks 27-20 in Week 8; Saints had bye, beat Cardinals 31-9 in Week 8
AP PRO32 RANKING — Falcons No. 28, Saints No. 2
FALCONS OFFENSE — OVERALL (9), RUSH (29), PASS (1).
FALCONS DEFENSE — OVERALL (24), RUSH (21), PASS (23).
SAINTS OFFENSE — OVERALL (14), RUSH (15), PASS (10).
SAINTS DEFENSE — OVERALL (5), RUSH (4), PASS (16).
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Saints have won last three meetings. ... Falcons have been outscored by 94 points in first half this season. ... One more loss would be seventh straight and match longest skid since 2003, when Falcons went 5-11 and coach Dan Reeves was fired in final month of season. ... Falcons have only two interceptions, both by Desmond Trufant in Week 2 vs. Eagles. ... Falcons have yet to recover fumble on defense this season. ... Atlanta’s two fumble recoveries have been on special teams, and Falcons have none since Week 5 at Houston. .... TE Austin Hopper leads NFL tight ends with 52 catches, five TDs. Hopper ranks second with 591 yards receiving. ... Atlanta passing for 316.2 yards per game and also leads NFL in first-down completions (135). ... QB Matt Ryan missed Falcons’ previous game with ankle injury, but has practiced this week. ... Ryan is 8-13 vs. Saints. ... WR Julio Jones has 100 yards receiving in 53 career games, most by active player and fourth-most in league history for that number of games played. ... The Falcons will debut fourth kicker, Younghoe Koo, and fourth punter, Ryan Allen, since August after Matt Bryant and Kasey Redfern were released following loss to Seahawks. ... Saints QB Drew Brees completed 34 of 43 passes (79.1 percent) for 373 yards, three TDs vs. one INT for 116.4 rating in Week 8, his first game since thumb surgery on Sept. 18. ... Brees says he will continue to wear plastic splint he wore on right thumb in previous game. ... Brees has 8,224 yards passing, 53 TDs vs. Falcons, both most vs. any opponent. ... In past nine at home, Brees has 2,994 yards passing (332.7 per game), 26 TDs vs. 3 INTs for 127.5 rating. ... RB Alvin Kamara (knee, ankle) and TE Jared Cook (ankle) have missed past two games, practiced this week. ... WR Tre’Quan Smith (ankle) practiced this week after missing past three and five of six. ... RB Latavius Murray had 157 scrimmage yards (102 rushing, 55 receiving), two TDs (one rushing, one receiving) and career-high nine catches in Week 8. Has 150-plus scrimmage yards and TD in each of past two games. ... WR Michael Thomas had 11 catches for 112 yards and TD in Week 8. Leads NFL in with 73 catches, 875 yards this season. Thomas has 394 career receptions, needs seven to surpass Jarvis Landry for most by player in first four seasons. ... DE Cameron Jordan had sack in Week 8, his eighth this season. ... Jordan has six sacks in past four games. Has had at least two sacks in each of last three games vs. Falcons. ... Fantasy Tip: While Saints could dial back Murray’s recent workload if Kamara returns in form, Thomas has at least eight receptions and at least 80 yards receiving in each of his past five games. He has been focal point of Saints passing game throughout season and should remain so against an Atlanta pass defense ranked in the bottom third of the NFL.