Falcons and Saints showdown in NFC South matchup
December 23, 2017 8:04 AM
by Bob Christ
There will be a lot on the line as the NFL season glides into its penultimate weekend with 13 of the 16 of the games having playoff implications. Of particular interest will be the NFC South showdown between heated rivals Falcons and Saints in the Superdome.
Atlanta Falcons (9-5) at New Orleans Saints (10-4)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line: Saints by 5.5 (52.5)
Facts: For both teams, win the final two games and they’re the NFC South champ... The Falcons are coming off a MNF 24-21 road victory in Tampa Bay and will be playing on the road again vs. New Orleans on short rest. Teams in this back-to-back road scenario have gone 3-7-2 ATS the four past years (3-9 SU)... The Saints are coming off a 31-19 win over NYJ in a game in which they were favored by a franchise-high 16 points... Falcons QB Matt Ryan had his worst game of the season two Thursdays ago in Atlanta vs. N.O. when he threw three interceptions. But the Falcons still won, 20-17... The Saints get back RB Alvin Kamara, who suffered a concussion early vs. Atlanta.
Analysis: For whatever reason, the Falcons have had surprising success when playing the Saints in the Superdome, going 20-18 (28-10 ATS) since 1978. In one stretch (1984-1999) Atlanta went an absurd 16-0 against the line and won 10 times straight up as an underdog. Disregarding their short rest time the week, the Falcons are catching the Saints at a good time since standout LB A.J. Klein and safety Kenny Vaccaro were both just put on IR. On the health front for Atlanta, it looks like WR Julio Jones is good to go despite ankle and thumb issues.
Forecast: Falcons 28, Saints 27