The Saints catch a bit of a break, as playing at Atlanta on a short week does not appear to be nearly as imposing as it did three months ago. The Atlanta defense was able to allow Mike Glennon to complete 87% of his passes last week, which is best in the NFL this year, and the previously unknown Bobby Rainey ran for 163 yards against the sieve that is the Falcon front seven. Tampa Bay had won just one game all year, but pounded the Falcons in all phases of the game, leading 38-6 at one point. If the Bucs can do that with a rookie quarterback and third string running back, what will Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense, which is averaging yards per game do?

This game looked like it would be a good one when the schedule was drawn up, but not so much now

Drew Brees is averaging 322 passing yards per game and has thrown 26 touchdown passes, both of which are good for second in the NFL behind some guy named Peyton Manning, and he is 12-3 against the Falcons since coming to the Saints in 2006. The Falcons have now lost seven of their last eight, and have a minus-11 turnover differential.

The free fall by the Falcons this season has been mind boggling. I felt as if I was perhaps going out on a limb when I predicted before the season began that they would miss the playoffs, but I certainly did not expect them to drop in this manner. Whether it speaks to the importance of quality depth, or how significant injuries are to a team’s record, the season just can’t get over soon enough in Atlanta. Regardless, the Falcons are floundering and the Saints are not going to cut their division rival any slack. At this point the Falcons may be just as well off letting their younger guys get some experience and take note of how Indy was able to quickly improve after their 2-14 2011 season.

Pick • Saints 38, Falcons 17
Saints -8½ (one unit)
Over 53



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