New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons Free NFL Picks & Week 1 Odds
by Josh Schonwald - 8/31/2014
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Georgia Dome in Atlanta
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One of the fiercest rivalries in the National Football Conference will get an early start during the 2014 season when the Atlanta Falcons welcome the New Orleans Saints to the Georgia Dome. These two teams don’t like each other and neither do their fans, which will make this an important game for either in hopes of getting their first win of the season.
A year ago, the Falcons were decimated by injuries early on and showed that they didn’t have enough depth at all the important positions. With a terrible offensive line and no healthy wide receivers except for Harry Douglas, it was a struggle each week for Matt Ryan to get the offense on a roll. This preseason, they already saw their offensive line take a hit when Sam Baker was lost for the year, but they will hope Jake Matthews, rookie from Texas A&M, can take his spot. The team will rely on wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White to lead the offense and will hope that Levine Toilolo or Bear Pascoe can replace the retired Tony Gonzalez. Defensively, the Falcons will hope for more improvement from Desmond Trufant and Kroy Biermann.
For the Saints, 2013 was another year that saw them reach the playoffs. They finished 11-5 and finished in second place in the NFC South behind the Carolina Panthers. In the opening round, they upset the third-seeded Philadelphia Eagles, but were then knocked out by the eventual Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. This season, Drew Brees will again be relied upon to lead their high-powered offense. Among the various weapons that Brees will have this season includes Mark Ingram, Marques Colston, and Jimmy Graham. The team has an improved defense than they have been known to have in the past that includes Jarius Byrd, Cameron Jordan, and Curtis Lofton.
Injuries to Watch
New Orleans Saints
08/24/14 WR Kenny Stills Quad questionable Sunday vs. Atlanta
08/13/14 DT John Jenkins Pectoral out indefinitely
08/25/14 T Mike Johnson Foot IR
08/24/14 S Zeke Motta Neck PUP
08/17/14 T Sam Baker Knee out for season
08/13/14 DT Corey Peters Achilles PUP
08/13/14 WR Drew Davis Foot PUP
08/13/14 RB Steven Jackson Hamstring out indefinitely
08/07/14 LB Marquis Spruill ACL out for season
07/27/14 LB Sean Weatherspoon Achilles out for season
Josh's Pick: Take New Orleans
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