The NFL season got underway again last night, with the the Bronco's crushing the Ravens after a Peyton Manning masterclass, including 7 TD passes and 463 passing yards. After too long its the return of @djs123sports to thatsbettingtips.com to provide his week 1 tip – The Live Sky Sports 2 game at 6pm on Sunday, enjoy.
NFL WEEK 1
Take ATLANTA FALCONS +3 (19/20 with WINNER) VS New Orleans Saints
The 2013 NFL season is upon us and we're in for treat with this divisional match up coming up on Sunday. These two teams have a long history with the Saints winning 15 of the last 24 matches straight up since 2001. Last season the teams split their head to head meetings with both teams winning at home. Saints won 31-27 on Nov.11/12 while the Falcons won the last match on their home turf by a score of 23-13 on Nov.29/12. The Falcons won the NFC South division last year with a tidy 13-3 record while the Saints finished with a dismal 7-9 without their head coach.
The Saints head coach Sean Payton will return after sitting out the 2012 season as result of a "bounty" scandal which saw the Saints' organization guilty of offering their players bonuses for injuring the opposing teams players.
Both teams play an offense first strategy and we will be in for a very entertaining game. The Saints last year averaged over 400 yards per game while giving up 440 per game. The Falcons averaged 360 per game on offence and gave up 365. Saints scored an average of 28.8 points per game last year while allowing 28.4, the Falcons scored an average of 26.2 per game and allowed only 18.7. The Saints bring in a new defensive coordinator in blitz happy Rob Ryan who came over from the Dallas Cowboys. With Payton coming back in and a new defensive coach/system I think the Saints will need a few games to get everything clicking on time.
The Falcons did lose some of their defensive players in the off season, namely John Abraham who lead the team with 10 sacks last season. They did pick up a very talented defensive end in Osi Umenyiora who came over from the New York Giants and also will have highly touted first round draft pick Desmond Trufant at corner back to help against the Saints pass attack. The Falcons also bring in a powerful running back in Steven Jackson who has rushed for 1000 or more yards in each of the last eight seasons and will certain help to balance the offence and keep the Saints guessing. Jackson last year had 1,045 yards rushing on 258 touches for a 4.1 avg. While Saints leading rusher Mark Ingram has 602 yards on 156 carries for a 3.9 avg.
Saints QB Drew Brees lead the league last year in both passing yards with 5,177 and also interceptions 19 and had a 96.3 passer rating. The turnover tendencies of the Saints could come back to haunt the pass happy Saints offence. Falcons QB Matt Ryan was a little more efficient throwing for 4,719 with 14 INT's and a 99.1 passer rating. Also worth noting is two of the Saints top linebackers will sit out with Will Smith out for the year with a torn ACL and Jonothan Villma placed on short term injured reserve.
Some trends to look at our in the head to head matches between these two teams since 2001 have seen the Falcons go 4-3 as an underdog but the Saints have gone 5-3 ATS at home. Last year the Falcons were 5-2-1 ATS on the road while the Saints went 4-4 ATS at home. The Falcons are 7-3 in their last 10 September games while the Saints are 4-6. A trend for the O/U(opened at 54 and now sits at 54.5) is the over has cashed in each of the last five meetings between the Falcons and Saints when played in New Orleans.
To sum everything up we are in for a great game and I recommend a play on the Falcons +3 points. I believe the Falcons could even win this game straight up as I expect a close game that could come down to the wire. I'm going to predict a 30-27 Falcons win. The better running game and edge in turnover differential will be the difference for Atlanta in this divisional rivalry. Get the popcorn ready and enjoy the show!
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