New Orleans (9-3) at Atlanta (7-5)
When: Wednesday, December 6th 2017
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Time: 8:25 ET | TV: NBC
Opening Odds: Atlanta -2/55
The Atlanta Falcons may be on the outside looking-in when it comes to the playoff chase, but remarkably enough, they control their own destiny when it comes to the postseason and their own division. The Falcons will see the NFC South four more times this season beginning with the first of two against the first place New Orleans Saints on Thursday Night Football. New Orleans posted its ninth win in 10 games with a 31-21 victory over Carolina last week to move a game ahead of the Panthers in the division, with Atlanta another game back. Running backs Mark Ingram (NFL-best nine rushing TDs) and rookie Alvin Kamara have given the Saints are serious running threat, as the duo has combined for at least 200 scrimmage yards in five consecutive games – totaling 1,243 scrimmage yards and 13 touchdowns. That has taken the pressure off Drew Brees, who owns an NFL third-best 3,298 passing yards. Matt Ryan and the Falcons owned the Saints last year as the reigning NFL MVP completed 47 of 66 passes for 571 yards with six touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 127.8 in the season sweep.
The Saints offense has never been an issue during Brees’ tenure, but he’s never had a good enough defense to consistently win championships – until now. This year’s New Orleans unit has allowed only 17.9 points in the last 10 games and one of the stars is defensive lineman Cameron Jordan. The NFC Defensive Player of the Month for November has recorded 10.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss this season and has eight sacks, a forced fumble and fumble recovery in his last nine meetings with Atlanta. Rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who has made progress from an ankle injury that sidelined him for the past two games, could be ready to cover star wide receiver Julio Jones on Thursday. Wide receiver Michael Thomas has at least five catches and eight targets in each of his last seven games, but has eclipsed 100 yards receiving in just one of those games.
Atlanta has a solid running back duo as well in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, with the former recording 12 carries for 74 yards in his return from a concussion in a 14-9 loss to Minnesota on Sunday. Coleman boasts five touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving) in his past five games overall and four (three rushing, one receiving) in his past two against New Orleans. Jones (NFC-best 1,063 receiving yards) was limited to two catches for 24 yards versus a stout Vikings defense, but has 361 receiving yards and a touchdown in his past three homes games versus the Saints. Cornerback Desmond Trufant was a full participant in practice on Tuesday as he aims to return to game action after sustaining a concussion against Minnesota.
It’s hard to believe that these two teams haven’t met this year and we’re already in Week 14. Expect a lot of fireworks in this one even though the Saints defense is pretty good. Atlanta is much better at home and the road teams seem to have a disadvantage on Thursday nights. Look for Ryan to continue his strong play when going up against New Orleans.
Pick: Falcons +1.5
- Saints are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Saints are 12-2 ATS in their last 14 vs. NFC South.
- Saints are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
- Saints are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games on grass.
- Saints are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 road games.
- Saints are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight up win.
- Saints are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
- Saints are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
- Saints are 16-5-1 ATS in their last 22 games following a ATS win.
- Saints are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 vs. NFC.
- Saints are 41-18-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Falcons are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Thursday games.
- Falcons are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games in Week 14.
- Falcons are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 vs. NFC.
- Falcons are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games in December.
- Falcons are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs. NFC South.
- Falcons are 19-8 ATS in their last 27 games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game.
- Falcons are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game.
- Falcons are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss.
- Falcons are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss.
- Under is 4-0-1 in Saints last 5 Thursday games.
- Over is 6-0 in Saints last 6 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
- Over is 4-1 in Saints last 5 vs. NFC South.
- Under is 6-2 in Saints last 8 games in Week 14.
- Over is 6-2 in Saints last 8 vs. a team with a winning record.
- Over is 5-2 in Saints last 7 games in December.
- Under is 5-2 in Saints last 7 games on grass.
- Over is 7-3 in Saints last 10 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
- Over is 6-1-1 in Falcons last 8 vs. NFC South.
- Under is 6-1 in Falcons last 7 games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game.
- Under is 5-1 in Falcons last 6 games on grass.
- Under is 5-1 in Falcons last 6 vs. a team with a winning record.
- Under is 4-1 in Falcons last 5 home games.
- Under is 4-1 in Falcons last 5 games following a straight up loss.
- Under is 4-1 in Falcons last 5 games following a ATS loss.
- Over is 16-5-1 in Falcons last 22 vs. NFC.
- Over is 3-1-1 in Falcons last 5 games in December.
- Over is 5-2-1 in Falcons last 8 Thursday games.
- Over is 21-9-1 in Falcons last 31 games overall.
- Under is 9-4 in Falcons last 13 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Underdog is 13-3 ATS in their last 16 meetings.
- Road team is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
- Under is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings in Atlanta.