New Orleans Saints (9-3 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. Atlanta Falcons (7-5 SU, 5-7 ATS)
NFL Week 14
Date/Time: Thursday, December 7th, 8:25PM ET
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium - Atlanta, Georgia
by Bob, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NOR +2 / ATL -2
Over/Under Total: 55
This Thursday night, there is a very important game between two NFC South foes when the New Orleans Saints heads into Mercedes-Benz Stadium to take on the Atlanta Falcons. The Saints come into this game as the division leader at 9-3 and the Falcons are third place in the South and are the NFC’s first team outside looking in at the playoffs with a record of 7-5. This game is not only important for Atlanta to get themselves back in position for the post season, but the Saints need this win to stay atop the NFC South and not lose ground to the Carolina Panthers who sit in first place.
These two teams know each other very well. They place twice a year and over the last decade, the games played between these two teams typically have playoff and NFC South implications just like this one does. Atlanta has taken three of the last five against the Saints and they swept this series last season on their way to an NFC South and NFC Title. This year may be different though. The Saints are looking like the Saints of a few years ago and the Falcons have been a roller coaster all season long.
The Falcons are getting the nod at home as a two point favorite over the Saints. As for the total points, as always, this game has a pretty high number. The total for this Thursday night showdown is 55 combined. I could see this game being a fun one with lots of big plays and exciting moments all the way to final seconds. The public so far is liking the Saints in this one. 67% of the early action has their money on New Orleans to cover this Thursday. If this number stays the same, I could see this game being an even pick by kickoff on Thursday. As for the total points, the public likes this game to go over with two potentially dangerous offenses going at it on turf. 63% thinks this game will go over the 55 points.
Over the last few weeks, the Atlanta Falcons looked like they were becoming the team they were last year this time. With wins over Dallas, Seattle, and Tampa, the Falcons appeared to have finally righted the offense and the defense was becoming more and more stout overall. Well, this past Sunday against the Vikings, the defense played pretty well but the offense was bad…real bad. Matt Ryan had one of his worst games passing that we had seen in some time and then even on some good throws, the wide receivers just could not make the plays needed. The run game had three huge runs called back for holding and at the end of the day, Atlanta was held to just nine points on three field goals in a 14-9 loss. The Vikings have a great defense, but this Atlanta offense had too many chances and has too many weapons to get held to nine points by anyone.
After twelve games, the Falcons are ranked 14th in points scored and 13th in points allowed. The Saints come into this game as the 3rd best scoring offense averaging 29.4 a game and their defense is not too bad sitting near the top ten allowing 20.3 per contest. The key to this game will be both defenses. Although Atlanta has struggled at times, we know they are a capable offense and the same goes with the Saints who have been one of the better offenses all season. The defense that makes the big play or gets the big stops will more than likely be the team that prevails in this one.
This game is going to be very interesting in my opinion. The Falcons defense has started looking better, especially the front seven getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The Saints will probably come out and try to beat the Falcons with quick slants and running back screens. As for the Falcons, they will more than likely attempts to get the running game going behind Devonte Freeman and Tevin Coleman in order to shorten this game and keep Drew Brees and company off the field. When the Falcons get the running game going, that is when Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are at their best. The defense has to stack the box to prevent big runs and the playaction pass works like a charm. The question is though…can Atlanta run the ball? We will find out Thursday night.
This game is always a hard one to predict. Down here in the south, there is no denying these teams hate each other. The fan bases, the players, it is just pure hatred. Mercedes-Benz will be rocking and this game is going to be a fun one. I think someone ends up winning this one something like 34-31 but the question is…who wins? As much as I love my Falcons and as much as I would love to see us get back on track, right now I am just a tad skeptical. We look great one week then not so great the next. Drew Brees is proving he can still play at a high level and the Saints are playing with tons of confidence. I hate to say it, but if the Saints are getting a few points, I just have to lean that way in this game on Thursday night.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take the New Orleans Saints +2 against the Atlanta Falcons and over the posted total of 55 combined points. Bet this game for FREE by taking advantage of a FAT 100% bonus up to $1000 at MyBookie! (Use Promo Code: PRDCT14)