Falcons in “Must-Win” Mode Against Saints
The Atlanta Falcons are at the point where if they can win their final two games, they can win the NFC South division. But the problem is, those games are against the division co-leaders, and before they take on the Carolina Panthers in the season finale, they’ve got to get by the New Orleans Saints on the road. This game begins at 1 PM ET on Sunday at the Superdome, and while Fox Network airs the game on a regional basis, BetAnySports customers will have the opportunity to place wagers even after the opening kickoff as they access what is available through Live Betting Ultra.
Falcons vs Saints Odds – 2017 Week 12 NFL Betting Line:
In the NFL betting odds that have been established on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Saints are laying points at home:
New Orleans Saints -5.5
Atlanta Falcons +5.5
Over 52.5 points -110
Under 52.5 points -110
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Falcons vs Saints Odds – CJ’s Take:
These teams met very recently; on December 7, as a matter of fact, and even though Matt Ryan was intercepted three times, Atlanta prevailed 20-17. They needed a late interception on the part of Drew Brees to preserve that victory, however. In that game, rookie sensation Alvin Kamara went down with a concussion and New Orleans was limited to just 50 yards on the ground. Now Kamara is back and has joined his backfield mate Mark Ingram on the NFC Pro Bowl roster.
Against Tampa Bay last Monday, Ryan had only 212 yards passing with 17 completions, but the Falcons did their best work pounding the football, with 201 rushing yards. So maybe we will see ground attacks dominating the action here.
The Falcons, after that victory, are 9-5 straight-up and 6-8 against the football pointspread. They are one game behind the Saints, who are at 10-4 straight-up and 7-7 ATS.
It’s a good sign for Atlanta that they can win games without getting a sterling effort out of Ryan, who won the league’s MVP award last season. This year his numbers are obviously down, as he’s had to make the transition over to a new offensive coordinator in Steve Sarkisian. The running game might be even more effective this week, if they can welcome back Tevin Coleman, who had to sit out the Tampa Bay game with a concussion.
Julio Jones is always a huge threat, and in the last meeting he had 98 yards in receptions. With the Falcons have struggled with for the last few years is a way to develop genuine threats on the other side of the formation that can distract secondaries. But the second-leading receiver, Mohammed Sanu, has less than half the yardage Jones has.
Brees has 19 touchdown passes, which is not necessarily sensational, but he still has a chance to set the one-season league record for accuracy, as he is completing 71.7% of his passes. The culture has changed in New Orleans, as teams really have to worry about the contributions coming out of the backfield. Between Ingram and Kamara, they’ve got 2756 yards from scrimmage. And if they are doing their part, it makes Brees’ job that much easier.
Deion Jones, Atlanta’s standout linebacker, and a New Orleans native to boot, has been a thorn in Brees’ side. You may remember that he returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown last season, and of course he came up with those late-game heroics a few weeks ago. If Atlanta can win again, they will have the tiebreaker advantage over the Saints, and of all three teams in the NFC South wind up with the same record, they might either all get to the playoffs or a formidable team might be left out. We are going to look for a game that involves both teams trying very hard to establish things on the ground, and using the clock perhaps more than the oddsmaker expects, so we’re going “under” in this NFC South showdown.
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By Charles Jay