The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints are going to duke it out on Monday Night Football at the Louisiana Superdome on Monday Night, and here at Bang the Book, we’re going to take our picks for some of the MNF props on the board for one of the biggest games of the weekend!
Atlanta Falcons +2.5 First Downs: This isn’t really rocket science, but it isn’t what you would probably figure. The Falcons had 30 first downs the first time that these two teams met, while the Saints had just 18. Of course, Atlanta was playing catch up in the fourth quarter and did get a slew of those first downs when it was making its big time comeback. That being said, when playing from behind this year, QB Matt Ryan really hasn’t been stopped all that often. The Falcons typically get the ball up the field in a hurry when they need to, and though they don’t always end up in the end zone, they do end up at least racking up plenty of yards and first downs. We tend to think that the wrong team is favored here in these first downs, as we do think that Atlanta is going to at least hang on this part of the stat sheet even though it might not necessarily be able to hang around on the scoreboard.
Total Punts Under 8.5: We know that this isn’t the Arena Football League, but it might turn out to be pretty close when it is said and done. These two teams each punted the ball once in overtime the last time that they played, and though they did end up with 10 punts combined, had New Orleans kicked the field goal instead of needing to punt the ball with less than two minutes to play up a touchdown, there would have only been seven punts. These two teams are only averaging 7.71 punts per game between them, and New Orleans just doesn’t punt the ball that often in home games. P Thomas Morestead has only punted the ball a total of 17 times in six games this year at the Superdome, including three out of four with two punts or fewer. P Matt Bosher, over the course of the last two weeks, has hardly been called upon to do much of anything since the Falcons have put up 72 points combined in those efforts. There just won’t be all that many opportunities to boot the pigskin away, and we think that asking for nine punts is just too much.
Drew Brees (-48.5 Passing Yards) vs. Matt Ryan: Matty Ice is great, and he has been a lot different quarterback with a healthy WR Julio Jones at his disposal, but this is still a team that would prefer to run the football than throw it. New Orleans, on the other hand, is absolutely going to turn Brees loose. He needs 303 passing yards to break QB Dan Marino’s record for most passing yards in a single season, and he should get that with ease in this one. At home, the numbers for Brees have been absolutely off the charts, and over the course of the last five weeks, he has 16 TDs and not a single pick. The trust is there, even in games in which the Saints are ahead, to let Brees keep throwing the ball, and we have no doubt that if he has to, he’ll put the pigskin up 50 times in this one to break that coveted record. Ryan might throw for 300 yards on Monday Night Football and come up 40 short of sticking inside of 48.5 yards!
Drew Brees Over 2.5 TD Passes: Simply put, Brees is going to get there. The Saints score 30+ seemingly every time that they tough the Superdome turf, and they are going to probably do the exact same thing in this one in spite of the fact that the Falcons have historically played them quite tough. However, Brees has at least three TD passes in half of his games this year, and we have to think that he is going to get the job done at least half the time against a relatively suspect Atlanta secondary that has been known to give up the really long touchdown. Don’t be shocked if the record breaker turns out to go for a touchdown for all of the dramatics to play out as we, the NFL fans have hoped.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.