New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons: 5 Bold Predictions

Photo Credit: Derek E. Hingle

For the 2nd time in the past 3 weeks, the (9-2) New Orleans Saints will face their long-time arch-rivals the (4-7) Atlanta Falcons, when they travel this Sunday to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.

The contest will be aired regionally by FOX, and will be shown locally in New Orleans on WVUE Fox Channel 8. Kickoff is set for 12:00 p.m. noon Central Standard time.

The Saints will be seeking their 9th straight victory in a row, as well as hoping to expand their lead within the NFC South Division and maintain the #1 overall Playoff seed within the NFC.

Meanwhile, the Falcons will essentially be playing for pride as they are facing elimination from the NFC Playoff race, but they are still a tough opponent in spite of losing to the Saints at the Superdome 2 weeks ago by a score of 24-9 (on November 22nd).

With that in mind, here are Big Easy Magazine’s 5 “Bold” Predictions for this highly-anticipated match-up. And as always: we’ll count them down first beginning with #5 and then work our way down to #1.

Starting first with….


Denver Broncos on Twitter (Original by Aaron Ontiveroz)

As noted in this brilliant breakdown (click HERE) by Canal Street Chronicles editor and film analyst Ross Jackson: the former LSU star linebacker has been nothing short of sensational, since the Black and Gold acquired his services in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers nearly a month ago.

Jackson also adds that Alexander has come along at the perfect time, and since that time has picked things up very quickly, and has become a key contributor for a resurgent defense which now ranks #1 overall in the entire NFL in total yards allowed and 5th overall in points allowed.

In fact, in his first 3 games Alexander has tallied 10 combined tackles, one pass defended, and one fumble recovery. and the good folks over at Pro Football Focus note that Alexander had one hurry as a pass rusher, four missed tackles and five defensive stops. Additionally, he has allowed 5-out-of 7 receptions for 36 yards in pass coverage; along with an 83.0 passer rating.

This Sunday in Atlanta, Alexander’s stellar play will continue — as he tallies 5 tackles (one for loss), breaks up a pass intended for Falcons TE Hayden Hurst, and forces a fumble by Falcons QB Matt Ryan.


Photo Credit: Michael C. Hebert / New Orleans Saints on Twitter

The history between the Falcons All-Pro WR and the Saints All-Pro cornerback is well-documented, and for the most part Lattimore has gotten the upper-hand in their one-on-one match-ups; which now is their 4th NFL season of facing off against each other.

Jones was severely limited in the previous match-up at the Superdome 2 weeks ago as he battled a hamstring injury; and will be seeking to get a bit of revenge against the one player who has been the major thorn in his side since Lattimore entered the League back in 2017.

In Sunday’s contest, Lattimore will get the best of Jones once again, as he limits the Falcons top WR to 4 catches for 52 yards on 5 total targets, which in turn eventually allows the surging Saints defensive pass rush to take over the game.


Photo Credit: New Orleans Saints on (Original by Michael C. Hebert)

Much has been made in the last several days about the fact that in spite of leading the Saints to a (2-0) record as the starting QB since Drew Brees was placed on injured reserve, that back0up Taysom Hill has yet to throw a touchdown pass; not only in those first two games, but never even as an NFL QB in his entire career up to this point.

In his two starts thus far in wins over the Falcons 2 weeks ago and the Denver Broncos last Sunday, the 30-year old Hill has completed 31 out of 44 passing attempts for zero TD’s and one interception, with a completion percentage of 70.45%. However, he has rushed for all 4 of the TD’s that he’s scored in those two victories.

But that will change this Sunday, when Hill FINALLY gets his first passing TD as a quarterback, on a 27-yard strike over the middle to Saints rookie TE Adam Trautman.


In their previous match-up 2 weeks ago at the Superdome, the suddenly-surging Saints defense made life unbearable for Falcons veteran QB Matt Ryan, whom they ended up sacking a total of 8 times.

The Saints are now among the League leaders in sacks with a grand total of (33). and clearly will be looking to add to that tally in Sunday’s contest.

And as it turns out: they will do exactly that, as they sack Ryan and the Falcons offense a total of 6 times; which allows the Black and Gold to maintain a slight lead heading into the 4th Quarter.


New Orleans Saints on

When Hill hits Trautman for the 27-yard TD that puts New Orleans up by two scores, by a tally of 24-13. But the Falcons stage a late rally as WR Calvin Ridley beats Saints CB PJ Williams on a deep pass down the right sideline  for a 55-yard TD reception that narrows the score to 24-20.

Atlanta then successfully makes the 2-point conversion to close to within 2 points at 24-22, with a chance to potentially win the game late with a field goal.

But unfortunately for the Falcons, the Saints get the ball back on the next possession with only 5:47 showing on the game clock; and they proceed to go on a time-consuming drive that concludes with a 39-yard field goal by Wil Lutz to make the score 27-22 in favor of New Orleans; with just over a minute remaining left to play.

However. the Falcons still have one last shot at driving the length of the field as they get the ball back on the ensuing kickoff at their own 25-yard line.

But as Ryan drops back to pass, he is sacked and then stripped of the football from behind simultaneously by Kwon Alexander and Trey Hendrickson — and Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata pounces on the ball for the recovery — as the Black and Gold escape with their 9th consecutive victory, the NFC South Division lead, and maintain the #1 overall playoff seed in the conference….


Barry Hirstius is a semi-retired journalist, who has worked previously as a sports editor and columnist. Barry is a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the Saints while attending their games as a young boy during the early 1970’s, uptown at the old Tulane Stadium. He is also the proud Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity. Follow him on Twitter: @BarryHirstius

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