Atlanta Falcons Vs. New Orleans Saints: 5 Bold Predictions For Week 3 Of 2016 NFL Season
With Week 2 of the 2016 NFL season now behind us, it’s time for American football aficionados to look ahead to what’s in store for a Week 3 that projects to be laden with enough storylines and plot twists to make a celebrity gossip column jealous.
In Week 2, Monday Night Football wasn’t incredibly exciting. An up-and-coming Philadelphia Eagles squad made mincemeat of the lowly Chicago Bears in what can only be described as a one-sided affair.
However, in Week 3, we have an interesting matchup scheduled for Monday Night Football, as the 1-1 Atlanta Falcons travel west to take on Drew Brees and the 0-2 New Orleans Saints in front of a national audience.
After a disappointing home loss in Week 1, the Falcons surprised many NFL experts by defeating the Oakland Raiders in their own building in Week 2. Starting 0-2 would have been absolutely devastating for Atlanta, and Dan Quinn’s bunch came through in the clutch with an important road win.
In contrast, the Saints lost a close game on the road against the New York Giants. For a change, New Orleans’ defense showed up, holding the Giants to just 16 points. Sadly, it was Drew Brees and company on offense who failed the Saints this time around.
If the Saints want to have a respectable 2016 campaign, they must figure out a way to get both sides of the ball firing on all cylinders simultaneously. This is easier said than done, however.
So, will Matt Ryan and company deliver on the road for the second straight week, or will Sean Payton’s Saints halt their two-game losing streak with a phenomenal performance in front of the rambunctious Mercedes-Benz Superdome faithful?
Find out with these five bold predictions.
Matt Ryan Electrifies
It can be be argued until the cows come home whether Matt Ryan’s sensational Week 2 showing is indicative of the season he will have or just an indictment of the Raiders’ struggling defense. What can’t be debated is the fact that he delivered an incredibly clutch performance, going 26 for 34 for 396 yards and three TDs.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) September 18, 2016
As mentioned, New Orleans’ defense managed to hold the Giants to just 16 points in Week 2, but was still torched for 368 passing yards.
According to ESPN, the Saints have allowed an abysmal 903 total yards this season, 672 of which were through the air. Put simply, New Orleans doesn’t stand a chance to stop Ryan indoors on a fast track.
Expect Matt to electrify, ultimately finishing with 400 passing yards and three TDs at minimum.
Mark Ingram Nowhere To Be Found
In Week 2, Saints RB Mark Ingram pulled a vanishing act. Ingram tallied a measly 30 rushing yards on nine carries (3.3 yards per carry), and a soft four receptions for 17 yards.
— Mike Triplett (@MikeTriplett) September 20, 2016
Through two games, Ingram has just 88 rushing yards and has failed to hit pay dirt. In fairness, it isn’t entirely his fault. As ESPN’s Mike Triplett recently noted, the Saints simply haven’t been running the ball much this season.
“Mark Ingram is off to a quiet start this season, but that has more to do with the New Orleans Saints ignoring their run game than it does with Ingram’s role or performance.
“The Saints’ 35 rushing attempts rank 31st in the NFL. They only ran the ball three times in the second half of their 16-13 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday.”
Atlanta was lit up for 155 rushing yards and one TD by Oakland in Week 2, which admittedly could work in Mark’s favor. However, in what projects to be a high-scoring shootout, expect New Orleans to do a ton of passing and fail to adequately use Ingram for the third consecutive week.
Michael Thomas Carves Atlanta To Shreds, Scores First NFL Touchdown
Michael Thomas is quietly off to a solid start to his NFL career. Through two games, the former Ohio State standout has a respectable 10 receptions for 114 yards, and appears to be gaining the trust of future Hall of Famer, Drew Brees.
Thomas could be in store for an increase in his workload in Week 3 against the Falcons. According to Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com, Saints WR Willie Snead missed practice on Thursday with an undisclosed injury and is listed as questionable.
Terron Armstead, Willie Snead absent from Saints practice https://t.co/C1Wf3nFfIO
— Josh Katzenstein (@jkatzenstein) September 22, 2016
Even if Snead is able to play, it appears he will be limited. Thus, Thomas projects to be heavily involved in New Orleans’ offensive gameplan, and will have a chance to hit the end zone for the first time in what should be an impressive career.
Saints Pass Rush Non-Existent
New Orleans was able to muster two sacks against the Giants’ feeble offensive line in Week 2, but the Saints pass rush has been far from impressive overall this season.
In Week 1 against the Raiders, who showcase the second-best offensive line, according to Pro Football Focus, New Orleans failed to record a sack, and only hit Derek Carr three times.
The Falcons will field a top-five offensive line on Monday night. Don’t expect to see Matt Ryan spending any time on the ground in agony in this one.
Falcons Cement Huge Road Win
According to Football Locks, Las Vegas expects this to be the highest-scoring game of the week (53.5 over/under). This makes total sense considering both teams showcase a high-octane offense, along with a suspect-to-terrible defense.
Expect both Matt Ryan and Drew Brees to perform at a high level. In the end, the Saints will once again be failed by their defense, and the Falcons will head back to Georgia 2-1 after airing it out on their way to a six-point win.
[Featured Image by Sean Gardner/Getty Images]