Week 14 starts with archenemies Saints, Falcons facing off

Week 14 starts with archenemies Saints, Falcons facing off

December 07, 2017 7:33 AM
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Week 14 of the NFL kicks off with archenemies meeting in Atlanta when the New Orleans Saints face the Falcons.

This is the first of two meetings over the next two weeks between these NFC South powers, with the Saints leading the division over Carolina by essentially 1.5 games (thanks to tiebreaker), whereas the defending NFC champion Falcons are two  off the pace. They are also on the outside of the wild-card equation by two games with four weeks to go.

Now for a closer look at the game. The odds listed are from Westgate Las Vegas:

 

THURSDAY

New Orleans Saints (9-3) at Atlanta Falcons (7-5)

Time: 5:25 p.m.

Line: Saints by 1 (52)

Facts: Saints RB Mark Ingram, the league’s fourth-leading rusher (922 yards), sat out drills Wednesday (questionable, toe). Speculation is he’s just resting before a game on mega-short rest. He played a full game Sunday at home in a 31-21 win over Carolina, with team highs in carries (14 for 85 yards) and receptions (6 for 37 yards)... For Atlanta, WR Julio Jones wasn’t listed on injury reports as of late Wednesday, but was questionable before the Falcons’ 14-9 home loss to Minnesota last week, catching only two of six targeted throws for 24 yards. It was his worst game since having one catch on seven targets for 16 yards at New Orleans last season... The Saints are hoping for the return of standout CB Marshon Lattimore (ankle) and safety Marcus Williams (groin), who are questionable.

Analysis: Atlanta coach Dan Quinn has been on his soapbox this week begging fans to bring their throats to this game on short rest to give the Falcons a genuine home-field edge in their new building, just like the Saints have every game in their Dome. But what usually happens is Saints fans gobble up enough tickets to muffle the home folks. Also, the Falcons will be playing their second game in three weeks on short rest and having four games in an 18-game spell. That’s happened only twice elsewhere this year, with those teams going 0-2 both SU and ATS. Two weeks from now in the Superdome, Atlanta will face the Saints on short rest off a MNF game. Unless Atlanta QB Matt Ryan and Jones can team up like they did two weeks ago (253 yards), the Saints look like the more refreshed and better team.

Forecast: Saints 28, Falcons 17