The Saints opened as two-point favorites a while back but now that spread has reached the key number of three.
Given both offenses are supposed to be as legit as ever this season, it's no shock to see the O/U at 54 points for this Week 1 divisional battle. You can also find 53.5 if you look around the different sportsbooks.
The Falcons are locked and loaded for another highly successful campaign in 2013/14. They came up short in the NFC Championship Game, but that playoff experience will have done wonders for the confidence of Matt Ryan and company.
That Atlanta offense, which ranked #6 in passing and #29 in rushing, should be even better now.
The arrival of Stephen Jackson should translate into an even more balanced attack. Ryan not only has Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez to throw to, but Jackson is sure to be much more effective than Michael Turner and that's only going to help.
How will the defense do though? Atlanta allowed 242.4 YPG (#23) in the air and 123.2 YPG on the ground (#21) last season. It's not like this unit lacks talent, as there's guys like Osi Umenyiora, Asante Samuel, William Moore, and Sean Weatherspoon patrolling on that side of the ball.
This weekend we'll find out if any improvement has been made, as they get set to face one of the most explosive offenses in football.
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees didn't exactly have an off season last year, but he'll be glad to have coach Sean Payton back on his side. The last time they were working together Brees finished with 5476 passing yards and 46 passing touchdowns against 14 interceptions.
Brees returns alongside top wideout targets Marques Colston and Lance Moore, while rookie Kenny Stills will immediately get playing time as well. And how can you forget about Jimmy Graham, arguably the best tight end in the nation?
At running back, Mark Ingram will get a majority of the carries, but Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas should see some snaps too. Sproles has also emerged as a big-time threat in the passing game.
A lack of balance was a problem for the Saints though. They were tops in passing (312.3 YPG) but ranked #25 in rushing (98.6 YPG), and we don't really see much changing this season.
Plus, that defense still needs a ton of work – is Rob Ryan the man to do it? Any improvement to a unit that ranked #32 in stopping the run and #31 in stopping the pass would be a welcome sight.
Let's look at the NFL odds for all of the upcoming games, right here!
These two franchises will be battling it out for the division crown this season, so this opener could really set the tone going forward.
The Superdome will be as loud as ever and the Saints will be highly motivate to start off their season on a positive note. However, the Falcons are mega-talented and are a serious Super Bowl contender here in 2013/14.
We therefore don't see a lot of value on either side for this Week 1 battle in the Big Easy. Since these are two of the most potent offenses in the NFL, we'll be taking the OVER with our football picks.
Good luck and enjoy the game!
Pick: OVER 53.5 at 5 Dimes