Atlanta Falcons (9-5 SU, 6-8 ATS) vs. New Orleans Saints (10-4 SU, 8-6 ATS)
NFL Week 16
Date/Time: Sunday, December 24th, 1:00pm ET
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans, LA
by Bob, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ATL +5.5/NOR -5.5
Over/Under Total: 52.5
Welcome to week 16 of the NFL. While many of the games are becoming more and more meaningless, there are those few gems that are huge and have major implications on playoffs, division crowns, and seedings. This one on Sunday from the NFC South is one of those gems I am speaking of. The 9-5 Atlanta Falcons will travel into The Big Easy to take on their division foe, the New Orleans Saints in a game that could decide the division winner in a week or so.
These two teams already met just a few weeks ago in Atlanta’s much nicer version of a Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the Falcons scratched their way to a very close 20-17 win that came all the way down to the last drive with the Saints inside the Atlanta 25 yard line. Many experts, Saints lovers, and Falcons haters said that if Alvin Kamara were not injured that the game would not even have been close and the Saints would have cruised to victory. Well, this Sunday Kamara is back and the Saints have a shot to prove that the Atlanta win was a fluke.
In this series, the Falcons have won three straight dating back to September of last season yet they are still underdogs in this showdown. The New Orleans Saints are a rather big favorite at home at 5.5 points over the Birds. The total points are set at 52.5 combined. Not only do the bookmakers have faith in the Saints at home, but 66% of the betting action also likes the Saints to get the cover as well. As for the total points, 56% thinks this game goes over the total although the last contest was more of a defensive battle.
The Falcons have been a roller coaster of a team all season. I may have used this exact sentence before, but it is true. You never know which team will show up and how they will play any given Sunday. Last season, you could pencil this offense in for at least 28 points if not more per game. Here in 2017, things have not come so easy for this offense. At times they look out of synch and for much of the season, the play calling of Steve Sarkisian was highly questioned by the fans and local media of Atlanta. The play calling has gotten MUCH better in my opinion and “Sark” is putting the Falcons in the right looks offensively, the players have just had issues executing. This needs to improve now seeing as how Atlanta MUST win these last two games to clinch the South division and they have to win one of these last two to even have a shot at the wild card. The key to this game for the Falcons will be to stop the New Orleans run game. If Kamara is racking up four or five yards per carry, this will not be a fun game for Atlanta. The run game must be stopped and Brees forced to pass allowing the young and aggressive front seven of Atlanta to get after him.
To hear many of the Saints players, coaches, and fans talk, it was almost as if they think they won the game in Atlanta. Excuse after excuse has been made but now they have a chance to redeem themselves. They are at home, they are at pretty much full strength especially on offense, and the Falcons backs are against the ropes. The Saints have an opportunity to end all of the Falcons dreams of repeating as NFC South champs. How do the Saints win this game? Easy. Control the ball. Just like I said that the Falcons need to stop the run game of New Orleans, the Saints need to keep this game right around the score they were last time. Also, the Saints need to capitalize off any turnovers their defense causes. Last game, New Orleans picked off Matt Ryan three times and was still only able to walk away with 17 points the entire game. This is going to be a physical battle and again I think this one comes down to the very end.
This may be a homer pick for me and as most of you know, I typically do not just go with my team because it is my team, but I truly think that the Falcons are just a better team than the Saints top to bottom. Yes, the Saints may win this game on the scoreboard but I think 5.5 points is too many to give up in a game like this. If this game were in Atlanta and the Falcons were 5.5 faves, I would lean Saints all day. This game will end something like 23-20 on a late score. Who will win? I don’t know, but I do know the Atlanta Falcons will cover.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: TAKE THE ATLANTA FALCONS +5.5 ON THE ROAD AT NEW ORLEANS AND TAKE UNDER THE 52.5 POSTED TOTAL. – Bet this game for FREE by taking advantage of a 100% bonus (Deposit $100, get $100 FREE!)at the web’s oldest sportsbook: Intertops!