Overall the Saints have a 13-ranking total advantage.  Saints have solid advantages in offense versus defense across the board, but Falcons have advantages on special teams, rushing yards per attempt offense versus defense (mainly because the Saints run defense is giving up big chunk plays), and in scoring %.  But take note even though the Falcons have better scoring % numbers (percentage of drives ending in a score of some type, whether FG or TD) the Saints have the advantage in points per drive and a big advantage in turnover %.

  • EXP = pfref.com‘s Expected Points stat.
  • Scoring % = percentage of drives ending in a score of any type (FG or TD)
  • Turnover % = percentage of drives that end in a turnover of any type (INT or lost fumble)
  • sack % = sacks / (sacks + pass attempts)

These are the rankings for each stat.  For example, the Saints offense is ranked #2 in points / drive, Falcons defense #15, a 13-ranking advantage for the Saints.  Then we add the Falcons offense ranking of #5 and the Saints defense ranking of #12 (-7 ranking advantage for Saints) to it and we get 13 + (-7) = +6 New Orleans Net Advantage.

EXP 5 14 2 23 12
Scoring % 5 21 3 8 -11
Turn over % 9 16 6 30 17
points / drive 5 12 2 15 6
passer rating 10 12 3 19 14
Sack % 5 7 4 10 4
rush yds/att 8 29 1 19 -3
rush yds/gm 11 17 3 18 9
punt yds/ret 18 30 25 12 -25
kick yds/ret 19 31 28 30 -10
Total net adv: 13

On the graph below, the yellow bars extend either to the left or to the right from center.  The longer the bar, the bigger the advantage.  To the left means advantage Falcons, to the right means advantage Saints.  Biggest advantage for the Saints is turnover %, biggest for Falcons: punt yards per return.  (I figured out how to change the bar color from default blue to yellow, which makes it much easier to see the text.)

nfl no vs atl graph1

In the graph below, the longer the bar the worse the team is in that stat, the shorter the bar the better it is.  For example, the New Orleans Offense is ranked #1 in rushing yards per attempt, and thus gets a really short yellow bar for that stat.

nfl no vs atl graph2

Based on this analysis I am going to say the Saints are the better team and should win the game, but obviously it’s a road game on a short week and injuries could play a part in this.