The Saints are eight point road favorites as the travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons.
By: MaChez, TSZ
Only 12 weeks ago, tonight’s NFC South showdown between the Saints and Falcons would have been considered one of the best games of the season (it’s already Week 12?!). But, the Falcons are one of those teams we get every year, those great teams from the year before that completely ish the bed for no reason. The Saints on the other hand are on a mission after coach Sean Payton’s year-long ban from the league and are only one game out of the #1 spot in the NFC. The resurgent Panthers are right on their tails though so they can’t slip up from here on out.
Due to the Saints’ dominating nature and the Falcons dominated nature, New Orleans is a heavy eight point favorite with the total coming in around 53.
New Orleans Saints
If not for two AFC East road games, the Saints would be sitting pretty at 10-0 right now. Even in their two losses against the Patriots and Jets, though, they played competitively enough to have a chance at the end. You can just tell that Brees, Payton, and the rest of the Saints offense are out to win the Superbowl just to stick it in Goodell and the rest of the league office’s face.
New D-coordinator Rob Ryan’s defense is doing wonders and overall shutting down teams. They made the Cowboys look absolutely foolish last two weeks ago for firing Ryan when they held the Cowboys to 17 points in a 49-17 rout. Ryan and his D shouldn’t have much trouble against an ailing and flailing Falcons’ offense.
At home the Saints are unstoppable (as long as they get late roughing the passer calls) but on the road they’ve yet to win by more than a score. If they want to lock up homefield for the wildcard and divisional rounds, they will need to play tough away from NO for the rest of the season as four of their six games, including tonight’s are on the road. This will be a good test for the upcoming away games against SEA and CAR.
Just what happened to the Atlanta Falcons? They were in the NFC Championship earlier this year and came in to the year as one of the Superbowl favorites, yet now they’re sitting at the bottom of the NFC at 2-8. I feel like people should be making a bigger deal about this. Sure they lost Julio Jones and Roddy White and Steven Jackson have been hobbled by injuries, but c’mon, they have franchise QB Matt Ryan.
After getting paid big bucks this offseason, Ryan’s play has dropped off a bit recently while the Falcons are getting crushed by an average of over 18 points over the last four games. His play and injuries to receivers and lineman have made things a lot harder on the one healthy guy you’ve heard of – Tony Gonzalez – and overall the offense is sputtering.
On D, things are just as bad as over the last eight games, in which the Falcons have gone 1-7, they’ve only given up less than 27 points once, and that was in their one win when they beat the winless Bucs 31-23. If they’re not careful Brees could have a field day tonight.
Although the Saints haven’t played as well away from the Superdome and have yet to win by more than a score, I still see them covering the eight point spread tonight. It’s not so much how well they play, but how poorly the Falcons have been playing. The one thing that makes me nervous is that it’s a divisional game. The safer bet is probably teasing up the UNDER and the Saints down. The Saints have only gone over the posted total once this year and ATL’s offense, even with Roddy White back, isn’t anything special. New Orleans wins 34-16.
New Orleans Saints (-8) vs. ATLANTA FALCONS