Saints vs. Falcons Point Spread Preview, Picks, Score Prediction
The Atlanta Falcons (10-1) are looking to avenge their only loss this season vs. the New Orleans Saints (5-6) on Thursday Night Football this week. The Falcons continued their penchant for close wins last week with a 24-23 road nail-biter over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while the Saints lost at home 31-21 to the San Francisco 49ers.
The Saints are getting a lot of respect here with Atlanta favored by -3 with the total set at 56.
1. Why New Orleans will cover the spread: The Saints will cover this spread and win this game outright if they can run the ball as well as they did in the first meeting between these teams in Atlanta. After not running the ball well all year heading into that game, they made life for quarterback Drew Brees easier by rushing for 148 yards, and the fine running continued in the next game vs. the Raiders before being held to 59 rushing yards by the great San Francisco defense week. Brees kept that score vs. the 49ers respectable by passing for 267 yards and three touchdowns, and he has obviously carried the New Orleans offense by himself for most of the year as the Saints rank fifth in the NFL in passing offense at 290.5 passing yards per game.
2. Why Atlanta will cover the spread: The Falcons will cover this game if Matt Ryan passes for nearly 400 yards if not more. Ryan passed for 411 yards in the first meeting and it still was not enough as the shoddy Atlanta run defense made the New Orleans offense unstoppable. That brings us to a second key, which is the Atlanta run defense coming close to duplicating its performance of last week when it somehow held a previously red-hot Doug Martin to only 50 rushing yards on 21 carries.
3. Total Talk: The performance of the Atlanta defense last week came totally out of the blue, as the Falcons still rank 30th in the NFL in defensive rushing average at 4.8 yards per carry, and we think the run defense we saw in the first meeting vs. the Saints is closer to what we will see here than the one that showed up against Tampa Bay. That will make the always dangerous Brees more dangerous than usual with the run needing to be respected. We do not see the 30th ranked New Orleans passing defense slowing down Ryan either, as the Saints actually rank dead last in defensive passing average at a distressing 8.2 yards per pass attempt.
For someone that was supposed to be limited, wide receiver Julio Jones looked just fine last week with 147 receiving yards, so we see both offenses having success. We like the ‘over’ in this contest and we also like New Orleans to give the Falcons a dose of their own medicine by squeaking out a close win as a loss here could end the Saints’ season.
4. Betting Trends for Saints/Falcons: The underdogs are 6-1 in the last seven head-to-head meetings, and the ‘over’ is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings.
New Orleans 31 – Atlanta 30
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