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Saints Can Take An Important Step Forward With A Win On Thursday

Posted by Stan Simmons on 2/4/2014 5:05:17 AM

The New Orleans Saints have just played a physically taxing and demanding game against the San Francisco 49ers. They have to make a quick turnaround and go on the road this Thursday.

New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons – Thursday, November 21

Betting line: Saints -8.5

Why New Orleans Will Win

This is an unexpected situation, and for that reason, it is an intriguing football betting test by any stretch of the imagination. Who would have thought that the Atlanta Falcons would be languishing well below the .500 mark at this point in the 2013 NFL season? Atlanta was the top seed in the NFC playoffs last season and appeared to be in a position to continue to make the playoffs on an annual basis. However, Falcons management made the wrong moves in the offseason, letting go of pass rusher John Abraham. While Abraham has produced a solid season for the Arizona Cardinals – who defeated the Falcons earlier this season and are very much in the playoff picture in late November – Atlanta’s defense has been fairly toothless this season. Injuries along the offensive line have left quarterback Matt Ryan under siege. Ryan has been pressured, hurried and sacked far more than he was last season, and that’s the foremost reason Atlanta has taken such a pronounced tumble in the NFC relative to 2012. It hasn’t helped that top receiver Julio Jones was injured for the remainder of the season in early October, while number-two receiver Roddy White has missed multiple games due to injuries as well. Atlanta has been hollowed out by a combination of bad decisions and awful injury luck. Yet, the reality of the situation is undeniable: This team just doesn’t have the resources to be able to contend with a team such as New Orleans.

For perspective on this game, consider that Atlanta hosted the Seattle Seahawks two weeks ago in a rematch of last January’s thrilling 2013 NFC Divisional Playoff game, won by the Falcons on a last-second field goal. Atlanta surely wanted to make a statement about its staying power in the NFL against the Seahawks, but the Falcons got drubbed from start to finish. That was a telling indication of how weak this team is, no matter the evaluation level. This is a powerless team, and New Orleans should be able to tear the Falcons to shreds.

Why Atlanta Will Win

The Falcons know that their offense isn’t very strong, but they are playing at home, and they are getting the Saints at a time when they might be softened up. New Orleans just played the San Francisco 49ers, one of the most physical teams in the NFL, this past Sunday. Now, the Saints have to come back to the gridiron after just three days of rest. You saw the Indianapolis Colts struggle with a quick turnaround last Thursday against the not-very-good (and injury-hit) Tennessee Titans. New Orleans could similarly struggle here, opening the door for the Falcons to steal this game in the fourth quarter.

Who Will Win

It is hard to give Atlanta any meaningful chance in this game. The Falcons hate the Saints, but hating an opponent doesn’t matter much if you don’t have much of any depth or strength.

NFL Betting Pick: Saints -8.5

Get the latest inside skinny on the week 12 lines for the NFL at the online betting site you prefer.


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