- The New Orleans Saints, playing without injured quarterback Drew Brees, are 3.5-point home favorites against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 11
- Sunday Betting Record: 3-7-0, -4.20 Units
- See the game odds, spread, total, plus a preview below.
The New Orleans Saints will find out whether Taysom Hill is only a gimmick player or a true NFL quarterback Sunday when he steps in to replace injured starting quarterback Drew Brees in a 1pm ET game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Hill has been a jack-of-all-trades performer, but coach Sean Payton chose him over Jameis Winston, a more traditional quarterback. Brees is on injured reserve, expected to be sidelined at least three weeks.
Even with Brees sidelined, the division-leading Saints are still 3.5-point favorites against the Falcons. The Saints’ defense rank No. 1 against the run and 12th against the pass.
Atlanta Falcons vs New Orleans Saints Odds
|Atlanta Falcons||+155||+3.5 (-110)||O 4.5 (-110)|
|New Orleans Saints||-182||-3.5 (-110)||U 49.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Nov. 21 from DraftKings
Hill Has Odd Statistics For Starting QB
If you go to Pro Football Reference to look up Hill’s statistics, you have to scroll down a couple of pages to find his passing stats.
The first two pages are devoted to his rushing and receiving numbers. That’s because, even though he is listed by the Saints as a quarterback, many fantasy leagues have ruled him eligible at tight end because he played as many snaps at receiver in 2019 than he did at quarterback. He has been targeted less as a receiver this season, but the Saints haven’t abandoned that option.
This is going to be an incredible test to determine if Taysom Hill is the future quarterback for the New Orleans Saints
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) November 20, 2020
Hill has played every game for the Saints, and has rushed for 186 yards on 34 carries. That’s an average of 5.5 yards per carry. He has also caught six passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. Hill has only thrown five passes this season, but completed four for 86 yards.
But the Saints do believe in his passing: As a sophomore at Brigham Young in 2013, Hill rushed for 1,344 yards and threw for 2,938 yards.
Falcons Have Advantage With Ryan
Atlanta’s Matt Ryan might be the NFL’s most underrated yardage passer this season. He has thrown for 2,746 yards, ranking him third overall behind Russell Wilson and Josh Allen.
That puts him ahead of future Hall of Famers like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, plus young sensations like Patrick Mahomes and Kyler Murray.
Most 20+ yard completions:
1. Aaron Rodgers – 22
T-2. Kirk Cousins/ Matt Ryan – 21 pic.twitter.com/QYX1n1pt8U
— PFF (@PFF) November 19, 2020
Ryan has been intercepted only five times in 352 pass attempts. The Falcons have won three of their last four.
But despite Ryan’s good yardage total, he has only thrown 15 touchdown passes. That’s lowest among the NFL’s top seven throwers. Also, Ryan has only topped 300 yards three times this season. Based on his quarterback rating and the eye test, Ryan probably has had as many poor or mediocre games as quality games. But he will be the most experienced quarterback in the game vs New Orleans.
Falcons Could Be Missing Key Player
Brees is the most important injured player heading into the Atlanta-New Orleans players, but the Falcons have defensive end Dante Fowler on the reserve/Covid-19 list. If he doesn’t play, that’s a significant loss for the Falcons.
Atlanta wide receiver Calvin Ridley (foot) missed some practices this week, but is expected to play.
Without Dante Fowler, Raheem Morris says the Falcons will have an "all hands on deck" mentality at defensive end.
— William McFadden (@willmcfadden) November 18, 2020
Saints Are More Than Brees
It’s worrisome that the Saints are only 4-5 against the spread this season with Brees as their No. 1 quarterback. But the Saints should view this first game without Brees as an opportunity to show that the team’s strength goes deeper than the man behind center.
The Saints are giving up an average of 308.4 yards per game, ranking them fourth in the NFL in overall defense. They are only giving up 76.8 yards per game on the ground.
Given the strength of the Atlanta passing game and the Saints’ desire to make a statement, we can expect that the Saints are going to put more pressure than usual on Ryan.
Pick: Saints -3.5 (-110)