This game is by far the biggest game of the week to me as these are two teams fighting for their playoff lives. Both teams are capable of winning a Super Bowl if they make the playoffs. Both of these teams are complete football teams but neither has played their best football over the last month. The Falcons won the first match-up between these two teams just two weeks ago 20-17 in a game which was decided in the final minute when Quarterback Drew Brees made a costly mistake as the Saints were driving to win the game. You can bet the Superdome will be rocking on Sunday and this has all the makings of a classic.
ATLANTA (9-5) at NEW ORLANS SAINTS (10-4)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
OPENING LINE – New Orleans by 5.
RECORD VS. SPREAD – Atlanta 6-8, Saints 7-7
SERIES RECORD – Falcons lead 52-45
LAST MEETING – Falcons beat Saints 20-17, Dec. 7
LAST WEEK – Falcons beat Buccaneers 24-21; Saints beat Jets 31-19
AP PRO32 RANKING – Falcon No. 9, Saints No. 6
FALCONS OFFENSE – OVERALL (9), RUSH (8), PASS (10)
FALCONS DEFENSE – OVERALL (9), RUSH (9), PASS (12)
SAINTS OFFENSE – OVERALL (1), RUSH (5), PASS (4)
SAINTS DEFENSE – OVERALL (11), RUSH (18), PASS (7)
Keys to the Game
The Run Game
The Saints offense has been number one for most of the year on the backs of running Backs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, but recently they have both struggled due to injuries. For the Falcons, running back Devonta Freeman had 194 scrimmage yards — 126 rushing, 68 receiving — and touchdown last week. The Falcons passing game has had trouble getting into high gear like they were last year, but if the running game gets going, it will help slow down the high-powered Saints offense because it will limit the Saints opportunities.
In the Saints’ Week 14 loss to the Falcons, they had eleven penalties, nine of which gave the Falcons a first down. The Falcons’ Matt Ryan threw three interceptions in the game and if either team has these problems again, it very well could decide this game.
I think that both teams will have a big day running the ball and the final difference will be who is better between Brees and Ryan. While they are both great quarterbacks, I will almost always take Brees over Ryan. Saints 27 Falcons 24
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