Chase Irle’s Prediction
For Falcons fans, this is about all we have left to look forward to this season. Sure, Atlanta still has an extremely outside shot of sneaking into the playoffs, but realistically, the rest of this season is all about wrecking their rivals and their plans for the postseason. New Orleans currently sits atop the NFC, which is especially important this season, considering only one team earns a first-round bye now. The Falcons would love nothing more than to ruin that this Sunday and a couple of weeks from now when the two teams meet up for their second and final matchup.
As we all know, Drew Brees will not be playing this week. He suffered multiple rib fractures and a collapsed lung last Sunday against Tampa Bay. In his place will be Taysom Hill… not Jameis Winston, who most people expected to start. With that in mind, it is kind of hard to predict what will happen in this one. We’ve never actually seen Hill play quarterback in a regular-season game for an extended period. This game is in New Orleans, which would usually be an enormous factor, but without fans, it shouldn’t be much of an issue for Atlanta. The Falcons are playing their best football of the season, and I think this matchup sets up perfectly for them coming off a bye. Even without Brees, this game will be a dogfight, but I like Atlanta to pull the upset, which should really get fans believing that perhaps a miraculous playoff run is in the cards.
Falcons 23, Saints 20
Jake Gordon’s Prediction
Throw it all out the window this week. Draft position, coaching search, records — all of it. This is for pride. I want to beat the brakes off of these clowns every time we see them. I was very thankful to see Taysom Hill is starting over Jameis Winston; I think Jameis gives them a better chance. Alvin Kamara has been limited, but I think he plays this week. Atlanta will be fired up for this game, and they should be. I think the Falcons come out, make a statement, and dominate New Orleans.
Falcons 28, Saints 10
Alex Lord’s Prediction
This game is incredibly difficult to forecast due to the natural unpredictability of Sean Payton, Taysom Hill’s versatility, and the usual competitiveness between these organizations. There is no telling whether Payton was deceiving the media, fans, or Atlanta when he voluntarily announced that Hill will not only start but that Jameis Winston will not be apart of any offensive packages.
Either way, I think the Falcons will have a hard time preparing for how the Saints will attack them offensively. I tend to lean towards how teams are trending in order to form an opinion on the game, but that is also difficult. Both teams are trending upwards, but the Saints will surely have to find new avenues to score this weekend with Drew Brees absent. It will be a dogfight, but I am going to go with continuity over creativity.
Falcons 27, Saints 23