Atlanta (9-5) at New Orleans (10-4)
When: Sunday, December 24th 2017
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Time: 1:00 ET | TV: FOX
Opening Odds: New Orleans -5.5/53.5
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The New Orleans Saints haven’t had much success recently against their NFC South rivals the Atlanta Falcons, but a victory on Sunday afternoon would clinch a playoff berth. The Saints have dropped the last three meetings and hold a one-game lead over the Falcons with two weeks to play, while the Carolina Panthers are also tied for first. The Falcons actually control their own destiny with their last two games being against the Saints and Panthers, so the NFC South could actually get three teams into the postseason. The Falcons kept their hopes alive last Monday night with a 24-21 victory over cellar-dwelling Tampa Bay, while the Saints bounced back from a three-point Week 14 loss to Atlanta with a 31-19 thumping of the New York Jets. New Orleans won eight in a row before alternating wins and losses in the last three weeks – a trend they hope to break at home this week, where they are 6-1. Atlanta has actually been better on the road (5-2) this season than at home (4-3), but are just 2-5 against the spread away from Atlanta.
Atlanta’s eighth-ranked rushing attack was the key in the win over the Buccaneers on Monday as Devonta Freeman ran for a season-high 126 yards and a touchdown . Freeman rushed for 91 yards and a score in the win over the Saints in Week 14, helping to make up for a three-interception nightmare from quarterback Matt Ryan. The reigning NFL MVP has recorded 3,490 yards and 18 TDs on the season but is already at 11 interceptions – four more than his total from last season – and was left off the Pro Bowl roster announced on Tuesday. Atlanta has the ninth-ranked overall defense in the league (323.6) and only one team has scored more than 26 points on them this season (Seattle).
Oddly enough, the Saints have one of the best rushing attacks in the league behind Drew Brees, and New Orleans became the first team in 42 years to have two running backs make the Pro Bowl when Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara were announced as two of the team’s six representatives. They are on pace to become the first duo in NFL history to each go over 1,500 yards from scrimmage and are already at a combined 2,756 yards from scrimmage and 23 touchdowns. Both of them had sub-par efforts, however, in their Week 14 matchup with the Falcons, as Kamara totaled just 27 yards on four touches before leaving the contest with a concussion, while Ingram ran for just 47 yards.
The Falcons have been squeaking by opponents recently as Ryan is having a down year for him. Atlanta has won by exactly three points or lost in four of their past five games. The Saints have a good enough defense to keep the Falcons from coming back against them as I see Brees and company having a big day.
Pick: Saints -6
- Falcons are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games in Week 16.
- Falcons are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games when playing on Sunday following a Monday night game.
- Falcons are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Falcons are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 vs. NFC.
- Falcons are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games.
- Falcons are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
- Falcons are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Saints are 22-4 ATS in their last 26 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Saints are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. NFC South.
- Saints are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games following a straight up win.
- Saints are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games in Week 16.
- Saints are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
- Saints are 14-6 ATS in their last 20 vs. NFC.
- Saints are 41-19-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Saints are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- Under is 3-0-1 in Falcons last 4 games in December.
- Over is 3-0-1 in Falcons last 4 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Under is 7-1 in Falcons last 8 games after allowing more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
- Under is 6-1 in Falcons last 7 vs. a team with a winning record.
- Under is 5-1 in Falcons last 6 games following a ATS loss.
- Under is 4-1 in Falcons last 5 games after allowing more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
- Under is 6-2-1 in Falcons last 9 games in Week 16.
- Over is 3-1-2 in Falcons last 6 games after accumulating more than 150 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Under is 8-3 in Falcons last 11 games overall.
- Over is 18-7-1 in Falcons last 26 games on fieldturf.
- Over is 15-6-1 in Falcons last 22 games following a straight up win.
- Under is 5-2 in Falcons last 7 vs. NFC.
- Under is 56-25-4 in Falcons last 85 games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Over is 6-0-1 in Saints last 7 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Over is 10-1 in Saints last 11 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
- Over is 6-1 in Saints last 7 games following a ATS loss.
- Over is 4-1 in Saints last 5 games in December.
- Over is 8-2 in Saints last 10 games on fieldturf.
- Under is 4-1 in Saints last 5 games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game.
- Over is 15-5-1 in Saints last 21 home games.
- Under is 5-2 in Saints last 7 games following a straight up win.
- Under is 5-2 in Saints last 7 vs. NFC.
- Underdog is 7-1 ATS in their last 8 meetings.
- Over is 6-2-1 in the last 9 meetings in New Orleans.