Can the NFC South-leading Saints Continue Their Winning Streak Against the Struggling Falcons?

NEW ORLEANS (5-5) at ATLANTA (4-6)
Sunday, 1 p.m. EST, FOX.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: New Orleans 2-8, Atlanta 3-6-1.
SERIES RECORD: The series is tied 54-54.
LAST MEETING: The Saints beat the Falcons 21-18 on Dec. 18, 2022, at New Orleans.
LAST WEEK: Each team is coming off a bye. Vikings beat Saints 27-19 on Nov. 12; Cardinals beat Falcons 25-23 on Nov. 12.
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Saints plus-6; Falcons minus-6.

SAINTS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Chris Olave has been New Orleans’ most frequent playmaker on offense this season with 56 catches for 657 yards and three TDs. He made a spectacular touchdown catch in tight coverage along the sideline in the Saints’ previous game at Minnesota, where he caught six passes for 94 yards.

FALCONS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Desmond Ridder will try to improve on his 5-1 record at home as he returns as a starter after playing behind Taylor Heinicke the past two games. Ridder started the first eight games. The team was 4-4 when Ridder was benched as he was hurt by turnovers and sacks. Heinicke suffered a hamstring injury in Atlanta’s 25-23 loss at Arizona on Nov. 12. Coach Arthur Smith says the move back to Ridder is planned to last the remainder of the season.

KEY MATCHUP: Falcons defense vs. Saints QBs. The Falcons defense is looking to rebound after poor showings in three straight losses to quarterbacks in challenging situations: Tennessee rookie Will Levis, who was making his debut, Minnesota’s Joshua Dobbs, who had not taken a snap with his new team a few days after a trade, and Arizona’s Kyler Murray, in his first game following his recovery from knee surgery. The defense allowed an average of 28 points in the three losses and now faces some combination of Derek Carr, Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill at quarterback for the Saints.

KEY INJURIES: The Saints placed WR Michael Thomas on injured reserve with a knee injury on Tuesday, meaning he will miss at least four games. Carr left the loss to Minnesota with concussion symptoms. CB Marshon Lattimore (ankle) also needed the bye week to recover. Falcons DT David Onyemata (ankle) may return after missing one game.

SERIES NOTES: The Saints have won six of the past seven, including a sweep of last season’s two games. The Saints have won each of their past five visits to Atlanta since the Falcons’ 20-17 home win on Dec. 17, 2017. Last year in Atlanta, the Saints trailed by 16 points in the fourth quarter before winning 27-26 on Sept. 11, 2022.

STATS AND STUFF: Saints DE Cameron Jordan has only two sacks this season but has a history of big plays against the Falcons. Jordan has 23 sacks and 27 tackles for loss in 24 games against Atlanta. … Carr has completed at least 70% of his passes in each of his past three games and has eclipsed 300 yards passing in two of his past three road starts. … Winston subbed in after Carr’s concussion in Minnesota and had two TD passes. Winston has started 10 games against Atlanta, passing for 2,768 yards (276.8 per game) and 27 TDs to go with two TDs rushing. … RB Alvin Kamara had seven catches and 75 scrimmage yards (42 rushing, 33 receiving) in Week 10, giving him at least 70 scrimmage yards in 11 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL. … Olave has a TD catch in his past two games and at least five catches in each of his past five games.

FANTASY TIP: The loss of Thomas and possible uncertainty at quarterback could make Saints RB Alvin Kamara, a solid starter in any circumstance, especially attractive. Kamara leads all NFL running backs with 50 receptions despite missing three games with a suspension. He has averaged 101 yards from scrimmage in six games in Atlanta.