Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Expert Picks Week 12: Falcons vs. Saints TNF

New Orleans -10 @ Atlanta — O/U 53

When these two presumed playoff teams squared off in week one, the Saints were a 3-point choice — at the Superdome. Assuming home field advantage is worth 2.5 points, that line would be sniffing two TD territory 73 long days later. Fielding a battered defense and an offense missing its most threatening playmaker, the Falcons look for all the world like the NFL walkover right now. Alas, recent reports claim head coach Mike Smith will retain his position.

On the defensive side of the ball Atlanta ranks 26th in total defense and 30th against the run. While the Saints will never be mistaken for a run-dominant offense, Sean Payton has shown more commitment to grinding out yards and balancing his attack. Versatile RB Darren Sproles is listed as questionable with ankle and knee injuries, but his presence would be sorely missed through the air, not so much on the ground. However, the Falcons allowed rookie Mike Glennon to complete 20 of 23 passes last week, so Drew Brees will be licking his chops with or without Sproles.

Roddy White, who is clearly on the downside of his career, has been ineffective in two games since returning from a hamstring injury. In fact, he was ineffective even before the injury. He’s caught four of 13 targets, and his touchdown catch against Tampa came with 1:45 remaining down 41-21. The above sentiments can be stapled onto the back of ten-year vet Steven Jackson as well. New Orleans quietly stands at #4 in the league against the pass, and with a reputation for building frequent early leads, that’s usually what they see.

Prediction: 41-17 New Orleans


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  • Daniel Laxen

    As bad as the Falcons played last week I feel we may see a performance that rivals what the Colts did when they played Denver…If you recall they were absent in the Charger game the week prior? Then the very next week vs., what’s possibly the best team in the league, plays off the charts…This happens in college football more than most realize. A highly ranked team, the week before a huge game, nearly loses or gets beat by a team that has no shot at winning…The only way the Saints cover is a back door score. Bet the over!

    • Adam Ganeles

      This has not been a one week issue for Atlanta. They are 2-8. Have been blown out 4 straight games.

      • Daniel Laxen

        I agree, but they had already beaten the Bucs and that game was over prior to half time. Mark my words, somehow the Falcons make this a game. This game should be as you suggest, but everyone is on 1 side and we all know what that means…Play at your own peril!

        • Adam Ganeles

          I wouldn’t recommend a 10-point road fave under any circumstances. But backing ATL– for the next six weeks — is a losing proposition. Good luck!

          • Daniel Laxen

            There ya go!…I can’t believe the Saints allowed them a shot to actually win the game. WTF? Had the side, but played the over too. Got greedy…looked good at halftime. Then only 3 points after words, BLEH!

          • Adam Ganeles

            You were right again. I certainly was not.. There was no sense of urgency from N.O.. Truth be told, a look at T.O.P tells the story.. Atlanta deserved a W.