But while handicapping this game, I find that the Saints should initially be around 6.5-point favorites, then minus the field goal that is given for home-field advantage, the line should favor New Orleans by 3.5 points.
It wasn’t exactly an epiphany, but the proof is in the results.
Atlanta enters the game following a tough home loss to the Minnesota Vikings, and the Falcons will look to rebound at home. It’s fun to care so much about random games again isn’t it?
The Saints have witnessed much of their stability on offense with a successful running game behind the play of running backs Mark Ingram and rookie sensation Alvin Kamara.
Their O/U trends are 0-4-1 in their last 5 Thursday nights, 4-1 in their last 5 games vs. NFC South, 5-2 in their last 7 December games, and 2-5 in their last 7 games on the grass. Falcons head coach Dan Quinn has noticed that fans would rather enjoy all the stadium amenities than be in their seats making noise.
“I think Julio Jones is a huge challenge”. They’re fast at all the positions.
“I think it’s hard”, head coach Sean Payton said Monday.
The Saints will release their official injury report later this afternoon. At 9-3, they have a two-game lead on the Panthers (8-4) thanks to having swept the season series.
“I felt like it was a possibility if we ran the ball”, Ingram said. “We just have to get our mindset right”. The three games he struggled in this year were against the Seahawks, Vikings and Jaguars – three top 10 defences that are able to generate intense pressure with just their front four. On Sunday, Kamara became only the third rookie runner to join the 600-600 club for rushing and receiving yards in a single season.
· The Saints are a flawless 3-0 in Division play this season on both outright wins and against the point-spread.
“When you talk about being ready for a Thursday game, it’s more than just physical it’s that mental aspect”, said defensive end Cam Jordan. “After they sacked the quarterback, they went after his family”. His balance is fantastic.
-PASSING OFFENSE: B – The Saints didn’t have to do a whole lot through the air because the running game was working and the defense and special teams were effective as well.
“The thing that has really jumped out to me – it’s his balance”, Quinn added. You know, a house-warmer? The 9-3 Saints would also grab the solo lead in the NFC South. At this point a year ago, the Falcons were also 7-5 and coming off a devastating home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, who returned an interception the length of field on a two-point conversion attempt for what turned out to be the winning points in a 29-28 stunner.
· The Falcons are 1-1 straight up and just 50% against the points as well.
The Saints have one of the best teams in the NFC this season and their uniforms will reflect that.
Left guard Andrus Peat was not spotted.
“It’s always tough playing New Orleans”, Ryan said in an article to ESPN reporter Vaughn McClure. “We’re right back into our division”. “We still know that we are still alive”.
The Falcons hold tiebreakers over wild-card contenders such as current No. 5 seed Seattle (8-4), Detroit (6-6), Green Bay (6-6) and Dallas (6-6).
“We had two game-changing plays”, Payton said.
The Falcons, 7-5 and now outside the six-team playoff race in the seventh spot right behind the 8-4 Carolina Panthers, are fighting for their playoff lives down the stretch.