The Atlanta Falcons are coming off of probably their best game of the season as they dominated the Jacksonville Jaguars 41-14 in front of a national television audience last week. That was vs. a bad football team though and that outing may actually be giving value to the New Orleans Saints here.
The Saints won handily on the road in Minnesota 42-20, but more importantly in regards to this contest, New Orleans is 6-0 at home while winning by an average of 21.5 points!
MNF ODDS: OPEN: SAINTS -6.5 | CURRENT: SAINTS -7 | O/U: 53
1. Why New Orleans will cover the spread: The Saints will cover the spread if Drew Brees has the same success vs. the Atlanta pass defense that he has had vs. lesser defenses at home this season. The Falcons have a middle-of-the-road defense against the pass, allowing 230.4 passing yards per game on 6.8 yards per attempt, and Brees threw for 322 yards against them in Atlanta, so we see no reason why he should not have another huge outing.
It will also help the Saints cover this spread if their defense can clamp down against the run a bit. New Orleans is allowing a disgusting 4.9 yards per carry this season, although it has shaved that to 4.4 over the last three games.
2. Why Atlanta will cover the spread: Atlanta will cover this spread if it can run the ball well and chew up a lot of clock, which in turn would also set up quarterback Matt Ryan for success through the air later on. The Falcons did accumulate 481 yards in the first meeting with the Saints, with 138 of those yards coming on the ground and 343 yards coming in the air. Atlanta would probably prefer that Ryan not throw 52 passes this time though as he did in that 26-23 overtime home loss. The Falcons will also cover the spread if they mix up their pass coverages in an attempt to fool Brees, especially by dropping linebackers back into coverage.
Remember that the Saints do not run the ball often and that the Atlanta defense is allowing only 96.6 rushing yards per game, so we do not think the Falcons will be hurting much by dropping some guys back.
3. Total Talk: We get that the Falcons will try and chew up some clock early, but the thing is that the Saints score so quickly when they get the ball at home that we could easily see them opening up a lead of more than a touchdown early, which would put “Matty Ice” into passing mode early again, just like in the last meeting.
Thus, we think the ‘over’ looks solid in this contest as it is not inconceivable for the combined point output to go well into the 60s!
4. Betting Trends for the game: These teams usually play close games, as the underdogs are 7-3 in the last 10 head-to-head meetings including 5-0 in the last five, which goes against our selection here. Then again, the Saints are 8-0 ATS in their last eight games on artificial turf including going 6-0 ATS at home this season.
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