Whenever the Falcons and Saints square off, it always means something. These NFC South rivals have battled for years, and now New Orleans will focus on making Atlanta’s playoff path a little more difficult as they prepare for their Week 17 encounter. The Falcons came out of nowhere to put together a very solid 2016 campaign and have clinched the division. Now they’ll be looking to lock-up a first-round bye with a victory on Sunday against the Saints. New Orleans meanwhile will by no means be content to let the Falcons have it. The Saints surely will be motivated to disrupt the momentum of their rivals, and also perhaps to send head coach Sean Payton out in victorious fashion – as it’s been rumoured to be his final game as the Saints’ boss. It is always special when these explosive units square off, and Week 17 will be yet another thrilling chapter. Read on below as the Saints try and derail Atlanta’s momentum to the post-season.
Saints vs. Falcons Betting Odds:
New Orleans Saints +7.5 (-120)
@ Atlanta Falcons -7.5 (+100)
Over 56.5 (-110)
Under 56.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Saints vs. Falcons Pick:
Sure, Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offence has been on fire this season, and that’s especially true of late. But recently he has had the good fortune of feasting on some very weak opponents. The Panthers, Rams, and Niners provided zero resistance or pride, something the Saints most certainly won’t do. New Orleans hasn’t quit on the defensive side of things, and even though they might be a tad shorthanded without Delvin Breaux, they still possess enough quality individuals to make life difficult on Ryan. One thing New Orleans has really improved on has been their run defence, where they’ve excelled. If they can take the running game away from the Falcons and focus solely on the passing game, the Saints have a shot at limiting Ryan and Julio Jones.
The Saints will certainly need to keep pace with Atlanta’s offence in this contest, but that really is nothing new for Drew Brees and his high-octane attack. Brees has his premium protection again on the offensive line with Max Unger back from injury and as a result should be able to badly expose a vulnerable Falcons’ secondary. This is one of Atlanta’s primary weaknesses heading into the post-season, and look for New Orleans to map out the blueprint on how to beat this team. Since losing Desmond Trufant, this Falcons’ unit has looked ready to break and this could be the week going against a competent offense. The Saints are just loaded with talented receivers, all of whom will be better than their counterparts on Atlanta, and Mark Ingram should also be solid in the running game. The Falcons’ interior defense is soft in the middle and a power runner like Ingram should be able to blast through for positive yardage.
The Saints getting a full 7.5-points seems a little excessive to me, and speaks to the market overrating the Falcons just before their playoff drive begins. There truly isn’t all that much separating these two squads, and look for New Orleans to be eager to prove that on Sunday. While it is correct that New Orleans is not a good road team, they usually are when they get to play in a dome – as they will be in Atlanta. New Orleans has been an awfully unlucky team in 2016, with many tough bounces and narrow defeats. They know they’re close to the supposed ‘cream of the crop’ in the NFC South, and look for them to prove it in Atlanta to end out their season.
PICK = Saints +7.5 (-120)