Sunday, September 23, 1:00 pm Eastern Time Mercedes-Benz Stadium Predictions | Betting Tips | Odds | Statistics Two 1-1 teams try to keep pace with the surprising Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC South. Predictions Coming off their first victory of the season, Atlanta will once again be without starting running back Devonta Freeman, as he continues to nurse a knee injury. Missing Freeman could be a blessing in disguise, as Tevin Coleman took the reigns as the lead back a week ago and ran with it, topping 100 yards. New Orleans has struggled mightily on the defensive side of the ball, ranking 29th in total defense and will have their hands full with Coleman, Julio Jones, and Atlanta’s high powered offense. Speaking of Julio Jones, one of the few receivers more impressive than Jones this season would be Saints’ wideout Michael Thomas. Thomas has 28 receptions over the first two games, more than any player in NFL history over that span. Thomas should keep his production going in week 3, as Atlanta has given up at least 8 receptions to teams top pass catchers over the past two games. Falcons will wish they had linebacker Deion Jones (injured reserve) come Sunday, as Atlanta will have no one capable of staying with Alvin Kamara out of the backfield. While Alvin Kamara has shined early on as a pass catcher this season, he and his fellow running mates have struggled in the run game, averaging a dreadful 2.9 yards per carry. A one-dimensional offense should prove to be New Orleans demise in a tightly contested divisional game. Score prediction: Falcons win 31-30 Betting Tips Saints (+3) at Falcons (-3) Via 888sport.com: Take Saints (+3) Saints’ high-octane offense is enough to keep pace with anyone in the league. Giving Drew Brees three points against a defense that is missing their best linebacker, and best safety is a bet that I would take every time. Over/Under 53 pts. Via 888sport.com: Over New Orleans offense may be the most high-powered in the league, and faces-off against a defense missing possibly their two best defenders. While the Saints offense has been dominant, their defense can’t stop anyone. Drew Brees and Matt Ryan should exchange scores all day, in a likely shootout come Sunday. Statistics Head to Head The teams have split their last 10 meetings down the middle, with Atlanta holding the slight edge 2-1 over the last 3. Stats The total has gone OVER in 4 of New Orleans last 5 games. New Orleans is 13-5 straight up in last 18 games. The total has gone OVER in 6 of Atlanta’s last 8 home games. NO defense ranks 30th in points surrendered this season with 66. NO WR Michael Thomas has a whopping 269 yards on 28 receptions through the first two weeks. ATL RB Tevin Coleman has averaged 5.0 ypc this season, breaking off two 20+ yard runs.