Neither team may have their quarterback of the future, but the New Orleans Saints have made it clear they're at least looking to win with Jameis Winston under center, while the Falcons seem more interested in who they can draft in 2023.
Sure, the Saints were over .500 last year, but that was during the Sean Payton era. Now it's Dennis Allen's team, with an offense led by hopefully a fully healthy Winston.
Neither has a resume anywhere close to what Payton and Drew Brees brought to the table, but that doesn't mean this is a lost season for the Saints. It's clear the organization is willing to build around Winston, at least in the short term, and they just might surprise the NFL in 2022.
We already know Winston can air it out, the question has always been more about his decision-making. Last year, in a much more restrictive offense, Winston went 5-2 as a starter with 14 touchdowns and just three picks. He also added a career-high 102.8 QB rating to the mix, showing he's certainly capable of being more under control.
New Orleans signed receiver Jarvis Landry after drafting talented wideout Chris Olave in the first round, while also adding left tackle Trevor Penning in that same round, giving away next year's first-round pick in what's considered a deep quarterback draft in 2023. There's also hope to finally have Michael Thomas healthy again to anchor that receiving corps.
Add those names to Alvin Kamara (as long as he's not suspended) in the backfield and Marquez Callaway as potentially your fourth receiver, and it's not unreasonable to have high expectations for this offense, especially against a Falcons team that was 18th against the pass last season.
Atlanta brings a pretty solid way to ease into the season, with a roster that's sitting on a win total of just five, having gone 6-10-1 ATS last year, while hitting the under in 58 percent of their games. New Orleans meanwhile, went under just as often, while going 9-8 ATS.
Given the fact that the Saints also bring back a defense that was seventh overall last year and some serious weapons on offense, you have to like the Saints to come out and open the season with a comfortable win in Atlanta.
Saints vs. Falcons Week 1 Lean: Saints -5
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