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NFL : ATS Matchup
Sunday 9/7/2014Line$ LineOU LineScore




NEW ORLEANS (12 - 6) at ATLANTA (4 - 12)
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Week 1 Sunday, 9/7/2014 1:00 PM
Board OpenLatest
463NEW ORLEANS51.5-3
NEW ORLEANS - Current Season Performance
 Straight UpAgainst SpreadTeamOpponent
All Games12-6+3.210-86-1225.313.7401.9(6.2)1.219.512.3301.3(5.4)1.1
Road Games4-6-4.83-72-818.38.7368.8(5.6)1.522.614.5326.2(5.7)0.6
Last 3 Games2-1+1.33-01-227.711.3437.0(6.7)1.021.312.3274.3(4.9)0.3
Dome Games9-1+6.27-34-630.517.7435.2(6.6)1.016.511.4281.9(5.2)1.4
Division Games5-1+43-31-523.715.3395.0(6.2)0.815.29.5291.0(5.4)1.2
NEW ORLEANS - Current Season Statistics
Offense (All Games)25.313.722.832:4125-98(3.9)27-4067.7%304(7.5)65-402(6.2)(15.9)
Opponents Defensive Avg.2210.819.930:2827-113(4.2)22-3562.0%233(6.6)62-345(5.6)(15.7)
Offense Road Games18.38.721.331:3224-94(3.9)26-4163.2%275(6.7)65-369(5.6)(20.2)
Defense (All Games)19.512.316.927:1925-113(4.6)19-3160.2%188(6.1)56-301(5.4)(15.5)
Opponents Offensive Avg.23.21219.430:5827-116(4.2)20-3361.5%217(6.6)60-333(5.5)(14.4)
Defense Road Games22.614.517.628:2829-129(4.4)18-2863.6%197(7)57-326(5.7)(14.4)
NEW ORLEANS - Turnovers, Penalties and Special Teams Statistics
 Turnovers LostThird DownsFourth DownsKickoff ReturnsPunt ReturnsPenalties
Stats For (All Games)
Opponents Avg. Stats Against1.
Stats For (Road Games)
Stats Against (All Games) 12-434.2%1-042.9%2-54(25)1-12(8.2)6-47
Opponents Avg. Stats For0.90.61.4 13-537.9%1-045.6%2-51(22.9)19-2(9.5)6-54
Stats Against (Road Games) 13-536.2%1-050.0%2-55(24.8)2-11(6.7)6-49

ATLANTA - Current Season Performance
 Straight UpAgainst SpreadTeamOpponent
All Games4-12-11.27-99-722.112.6343.1(5.6)1.727.713.9379.4(6.3)1.3
Home Games3-5-5.94-45-322.913.5329.4(5.6)1.025.513.9389.6(6.3)1.4
Last 3 Games1-2-12-12-123.712.3317.3(5.1)1.727.012.3379.3(6.6)3.0
Dome Games3-7-7.94-65-521.312.4329.4(5.5)1.425.414.5388.4(6.4)1.3
Division Games1-5-43-32-419.812.2338.2(6.2)2.026.514.8366.0(5.7)1.0
ATLANTA - Current Season Statistics
Offense (All Games)22.112.620.630:2120-78(3.9)28-4167.5%265(6.4)61-343(5.6)(15.6)
Opponents Defensive Avg.21.310.919.130:5126-107(4.1)21-3461.5%224(6.5)61-331(5.4)(15.6)
Offense Home Games22.913.520.430:2919-58(3.1)29-4072.7%272(6.8)59-329(5.6)(14.4)
Defense (All Games)27.713.920.329:5028-136(4.8)21-3266.1%244(7.6)61-379(6.3)(13.7)
Opponents Offensive Avg.22.611.619.531:3328-119(4.2)20-3360.9%220(6.6)62-339(5.5)(15)
Defense Home Games25.513.920.629:3127-123(4.5)22-3564.1%267(7.6)62-390(6.3)(15.3)
ATLANTA - Turnovers, Penalties and Special Teams Statistics
 Turnovers LostThird DownsFourth DownsKickoff ReturnsPunt ReturnsPenalties
Stats For (All Games)
Opponents Avg. Stats Against1.
Stats For (Home Games)
Stats Against (All Games) 13-646.2%1-063.6%1-36(24.8)2-16(7.8)6-55
Opponents Avg. Stats For0.90.51.5 14-538.2%1-044.1%2-47(22.1)18-2(8.8)6-54
Stats Against (Home Games) 14-747.7%1-171.4%1-26(26)2-21(8.2)7-65
Average power rating of opponents played: NEW ORLEANS 22.7,  ATLANTA 22.6
NEW ORLEANS - Season Results
 Team StatsOpp Stats
9/7/2014@ ATLANTA            
9/14/2014@ CLEVELAND            
9/28/2014@ DALLAS            
10/5/2014TAMPA BAY            

ATLANTA - Season Results
 Team StatsOpp Stats
9/7/2014NEW ORLEANS            
9/14/2014@ CINCINNATI            
9/18/2014TAMPA BAY            
9/28/2014@ MINNESOTA            
10/5/2014@ NY GIANTS            
NEW ORLEANS: The Saints' running game is a Frankenstein of a series of other offenses, but its basis is in between-the-tackles power. Pierre Thomas might lead the backfield committee in playing time, but the running game is better suited for big bruising backs like Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson. They'll rotate the three on early downs with Thomas staying on the field for most passing downs. Thomas is at his best on stretch plays that move the opposing front seven laterally, while the other two will work a lot of inside zone runs. Thomas got most of the carries inside the 20 last season, but Ingram started to eat into those red-zone touches late in the year once he was healthy.
The Saints will run the same kind of pass-happy, spread offense they have run since 2007. Tight end Jimmy Graham is the focal point of the passing game, flexing out and working the deep seam. Drew Brees will look for him any time Graham gets single-coverage, and often when he's double-covered too. He is by far the Saints' top option in the red zone. Marques Colston works downfield on the perimeter, as Brees reads high-to-low. Kenny Stills and Brandin Cooks will mix in as home-run hitters, and Cooks could see some of the catch-and-run work that used to go to Darren Sproles. Thomas, one of the NFL's best in the screen game, will see increased usage through the air with Sproles gone.
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan transformed one of the worst defenses ever in 2012 to a unit that finished fourth among NFL defenses in yards, points and sacks. The addition of FS Jairus Boyd and CB Champ Bailey will help pass-rushing studs DE Cameron Jordan (12.5 sacks) and OLB Junior Galette (12 sacks) get more sacks.
ATLANTA: The Falcons brought in long-time offensive line guru Mike Tice to try and revive their running game. He uses a scheme heavy in zone-blocking concepts, which should benefit the Falcons' relatively small front five. They'll likely try to keep Steven Jackson's workload reasonable during the regular season in order to keep him fresh for December and January. The No. 2 job will be an interesting battle between undersized veteran Jacquizz Rodgers, who will take a lot of passing-down snaps, and rookie Devonta Freeman, who fits the scheme well. Jackson will remain the primary runner in the red zone.
Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has always tried to utilize a lot of deep shots, though injuries sabotaged his game plan a year ago. A healthy Julio Jones working downfield will once again be Matt Ryan's top target, with Roddy White working more underneath and crossing routes. They'll go three-wide more often this season, with slot receiver Harry Douglas poised to take on a bigger role. Koetter usually features his tight end heavily, though he may have to change it up this year with Tony Gonzalez retired and replaced by raw second-year man Levine Toilolo. Koetter also uses a lot of screen work for his backs. Koetter usually relies on Ryan to make plays in the red zone by calling a lot of play-action. Jones took on a huge red-zone role last year before getting hurt.
The Falcons defense was a huge disappointment last season, as the unit placed among the bottom-six NFL teams in sacks, points allowed and total yards allowed. None of Atlanta's new starters via free agency (DE Tyson Jackson, DT Paul Soliai and FS Dwight Lowery) will make a big enough difference to make this an above-average unit.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER PRO FOOTBALL PREVIEW (NEW ORLEANS-ATLANTA) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*Saints-Falcons Preview* ========================


The New Orleans Saints have made reaching the postseason a foregone conclusion with coach Sean Payton on the sideline.

Adding another Super Bowl title has been a much more difficult challenge.

With most of the key contributors from last year's playoff team back, the visiting Saints begin a 2014 season they hope ends with the Vince Lombardi Trophy in their hands Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

New Orleans continued its recent success, which includes a Super Bowl title in 2009, with a bounce-back 11-5 finish last season. The Saints improved to 48-16 while reaching the postseason for the fourth straight year under Payton.

The only time the franchise hasn't made it to the playoffs in the past five years came in 2012 when Payton served his one-season suspension for his role in the team's bounty scandal.

New Orleans picked up its first-ever road victory over Philadelphia in January before falling at eventual champion Seattle in the divisional round.

Now the Saints are highly motivated to advance further with perennial Pro Bowlers Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham leading an offense that should again be among the NFL's most prolific.

"We look pretty good," said Brees, who has thrown for more than 5,000 yards and at least 39 touchdowns in each of the last three seasons. "Now we have to go out and put it all together. We have to put together the team we know we can."

Brees led the NFC with a 68.6 completion percentage, 5,162 passing yards and 39 touchdowns in 2013, while throwing only 12 interceptions - his fewest since 2009. He was particularly sharp in two meetings with Atlanta, completing 72.1 percent for 635 yards with four scores and one interception in a pair of New Orleans victories.

Graham totaled nine receptions for 145 yards and two touchdowns in those contests, and has scored seven times in his last seven games against the Falcons. The All-Pro tight end finished with 86 catches for 1,215 yards and a career-high 16 touchdowns in 2013.

Marques Colston, the Saints' all-time leading receiver, and rookie Brandin Cooks are expected to be playmakers on the outside in Payton's pass-happy offense. Kenny Stills, however, could be out after re-injuring his quad during the preseason.

Pierre Thomas started nine games en route to a team-high 549 rushing yards last season, but he's expected to share backfield duties with Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson.

"They are going to have to put me on the bench, and that's going to be hard to do," Thomas said.

Despite their historic win in the postseason, the Saints are looking to end their struggles away from the Superdome. Their high-scoring attack managed just 16.7 points per game - 17.3 below their home average - while dropping five of their last six road games in the regular season.

The Falcons hope to be much improved on defense, as they ranked near the bottom of the NFL with 27.7 points and 379.4 yards allowed per game last year. However, they've already suffered a big blow with linebacker Sean Weatherspoon out for the season.

After going 36-12 during three straight playoff seasons, including a trip to the NFC title game in 2012, the Falcons are out to prove last year's 4-12 finish - their worst since 2007 - was a fluke.

"I don't think you can lose your confidence just based on (last season)," quarterback Matt Ryan said. "And I don't think we have. I think confidence is high here. I think guys expect to make the plays we need to make in order to win games."

Ryan threw a career-worst 17 interceptions and was sacked a career-high 44 times during the team's plummet, while the running game ranked last in the league and star receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White were injured.

As a result, Atlanta drafted Jake Matthews at No. 6 overall, and he'll start at left tackle with Sam Baker going down with a season-ending knee injury in the preseason. Jones and White finally appear to be healthy, but tight end Tony Gonzalez's retirement leaves a hole in the passing game.

Steven Jackson has battled a right hamstring injury throughout the preseason as he looks to rebound after rushing for 543 yards while missing four games with a left hamstring problem.

"Last year I was stressed to make sure I was out there on the field," he said. "I felt I had something to prove. And this year I said, you know what, I'm going to take it with a grain of salt."

New Orleans made tremendous strides under first-year defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who took a unit that ranked last in 2012 and made it the league's fourth best with 305.7 yards allowed per game.

Cam Jordan and Junior Galette return after combining for 24 1/2 sacks last season, while Akiem Hicks finished with 4 1/2 sacks and 56 tackles.

Free-agent signee Jairus Byrd could improve the secondary after he had 22 interceptions in five seasons with Buffalo. The three-time Pro Bowl safety is expected to play despite missing two preseason games following back surgery.

New Orleans has won six of its last eight trips to Atlanta and 13 of 16 overall in the series.

Game Notes:

Last Updated: 6/20/2018 12:23:16 PM EST

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