Falcons and Saints Contest Has Major Playoff Implications for NFC South
In what is the tightest of all NFL division races, the NFC South, the Atlanta Falcons (9-5 Overall, 5-2 Away) meet the New Orleans Saints (10-4 Overall, 6-1 Home) today. The Falcons are one game behind the Saints and Carolina Panthers. Atlanta needs to run the table to win the division and ensure a playoff berth. New Orleans is in their way this week. Next week, it will be, appropriately enough, the Panthers who line up across from the Falcons. Our Atlanta plays New Orleans 2017 NFL pick has the Saints at -5.0 and the over/under at 52.5. In their meeting a few weeks ago, the Falcons beat the Saints 20-17. Last week, Atlanta beat Tampa Bay 24-21. For their last five games, they are 4-1. The Saints were winners last week too, beating the New York Jets 34-19. They are 3-2 for their last five games.
This is not the same dynamic offense that took the field last season, as they are scoring on average just 22.7 PPG. Still, the Falcons have some solid weapons. QB Matt Ryan (62.5 COMP%, 18 TDs, 11 INTs) will be looking for WRs Julio Jones (76 REC, 1,215 YDs, 16.0 AVG, 3 TDs) and Mohammed Sanu (56 REC, 601 YDs, 10.7 AVG, 5 TDs) today. Both are questionable, but both will most likely play. Jones TD total is down this season, and may be a factor today. The running game has been fairly consistent, as Devonta Freeman has crossed the goal line seven times and is averaging 4.6 YPA. RB Tevin Coleman appears to have cleared concussion protocol and is expected to play today. He’s averaging 4.3 YPA and has five touchdowns.
The Falcon defense is good, as they are allowing 20.1 PPG and holding teams to 343 yards of offense per game. What is stunningly low for this defense is the number of interceptions they have made. That number stands at four. That’s not a good stat when you’re going up against Drew Brees. They do have 54 PD, and that’s certainly a good sign. Also, they’ve garnered 38 sacks and forced 13 fumbles, recovering eight. DE Adrian Clayborn (9.5 Sacks) and LB De’Vondre Campbell (15 TFL) could be major factors today. Also, LB Deion Jones (118 TCKLs, 8 TFL, 8 PD, 2 INTs) and safety Keanu Neal (101 TCKLs, 4 PD, 3 FF, 2 FR) have the potential to be game-changers.
Ground attack needs to grind out yards and points
Defense is tough versus run
Pass defense must step up
New Orleans Overview
New Orleans can still put points up on the scoreboard. They’re averaging 28.6 PPG. QB Drew Breese (71.8 COMP%, 21 TDs, 7 INTs) is still amazingly accurate. He has a fine group of receivers to toss to, including dual-threat rookie Alvin Kamara who has 68 receptions for 684 yards and five TDs, as well as 99 rushes for 652 yards and seven more scores. WR Michael Thomas leads the team with 94 catches and 1,085 receiving yards. He has five TD catches. RB Mark Ingram (204 ATT, 1,045 YDs, 5.1 AVG, 11 TDs) is having a fine season and will help keep the Atlanta defense off-balance.
A big difference for the Saints this season is that they have fielded a very fine offense. Like the Falcons, they are allowing 20.1 PPG and, similarly, giving up 346 YPG to opponents. The Saint secondary has grabbed 16 INTs and defended 80 passes. Their pass rush has been good for 35 sacks. Plus, they have 18 FF and 45 TFL. Rookie corner Marshon Lattimore has had an outstanding season, grabbing four INTs and defending 13 passes. DE Cameron Jordan comes to this game with 10 sacks, 11 PD, and two FF, while DE Alex Okafor has 4.5 sacks, five TFL, four PD and two FF.
Some great rookies on both sides of ball
Defense can cause havoc
Three Important Takeaways
We offer these three takeaways for our Atlanta plays New Orleans 2017 NFL pick-
Edge to Saints offense
Big edge to Saints pass defense
Run defense- tie
Our Atlanta Plays New Orleans 2017 NFL Pick
We do like the Saints this time around. It’s true that the Falcons took them down last time these two teams met two weeks ago. But New Orleans is at home where they are tough to beat. Plus, overall, they offer more on both sides of the ball. We’re going with the Saints at -5.0. We are taking the under at 52.5.
Summary Atlanta at New Orleans Picks: The Saints at -5.0 and under 52.5