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In the past, Saints-Falcons has been the league’s preeminent offensive explosion. While the Saints can absolutely hold their own in that department, this matchup feels a little lackluster compared to what it has been. However, this still lines up as a very good game. The Saints need a win in order to match the Rams and keep the top spot in the NFC as we near the playoffs. Atlanta desperately needs a win. Which makes them dangerous in the way a wounded animal in the wild is. But at 4-6, they might not have the fight in them.
Featured Pick #1: How many points will be scored? (Over 61)
New Orleans has been no a roll. They’ve put up over 40 points the last three games. And against the Falcons defense, you’d have to think that continues. If so, as long as Atlanta can find paydirt two or three times with an additional field goal or two, there’s the over.
Scoring 61 points sounds like a lot. But we’re not dealing with any ‘ol run-of-the-mill offenses here. Even though the Falcons have struggled this year, their offense can still be very dangerous in stretches. While the Saints defense has risen to the challenge after giving up 48 to Tampa Bay Week 1, it’s not like they’re the ’85 Bears, either. They have, however, done a great job of creating turnovers. Which offers an interesting game-within-a-game aspect when juxtaposed up against the Falcons relatively risk-averse offense.
In order for the Falcons to win, they’ll have to come up with stops when it matters. Not necessarily all the time. They have an offense capable of keeping it relatively close. Or, the Saints could run away with it. In either scenario, the over looks pretty enticing here.
Featured Pick #2: Will Julio Jones have a reception of 10+ yards in the Falcons first drive of the second half? (No)
Marshon Lattimore is as equipped to handle Julio Jones as any cornerback in the NFL. That’s a task easier said than done though, obviously. The first time these teams played, Jones had five catches for 96 yards. Not a bad game, by any means. And he’ll probably have a highly-productive day again on Thanksgiving.
However, betting on a catch going for ten or more yards on any specific drive is a tough one. Especially when it’s either the first drive of either the first or second half. Because you can bet the Saints’ coaching staff is making it known that Jones needs to be covered.
Even if Jones has a big first half, you’d think New Orleans would take advantage of the halftime break to game plan for some additional coverage shifting Jones’ way. If the Falcons’ wideout doesn’t have that great of a first half, Saints coaches will use the opportunity to reiterate the positives.
Atlanta is not shy at throwing Jones’ way. Why would they? But his catch rate sits at 65.8%, which is about his career average, but not the best category to make a case for his greatness. To start the second half, with the addition of the Saints’ halftime coverage adjustments, the Falcons might throw short out of the gate to set up something big later in the game.
Featured Pick #3: Who will win the game? (Saints by 14+)
The Falcons are a desperate team. That can work effectively. It can also work against a team. And if it’s true about any team, it’s true about Atlanta: a team that tries to force the action can have it blow up in their face. If Atlanta wins, it’ll be close. If the Saints win, it’ll be close or a blowout. Which is to say: there’s really no scenario in which the Falcons are on the right side of a blowout.
There’s also the in-between zone. But that really limits your outcome. It took overtime for the Saints to win by six the first time this matchup was played in Week 3. But the Saints are a different team now than they were then. Last year, it was kind of the same scenario. In 2017, these two played in Week 14 and the Falcons won by three. The second time, the Saints won by ten.
It’s a division rivalry. Which means games are generally closer than they may first appear. But the gap between the Saints and Falcons now is greater than it was in 2017. You’d have to think New Orleans has Atlanta’s number. And will keep the pedal to the floor. If for no other reason than to send a warning shot to the rest of the NFC South. Not to mention the entire league. Pick a big Saints win on your way to winning $1,000,000.
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