In this week’s edition of Thursday Night Football, the NFC South leading Atlanta Falcons will put their perfect home record on the line as the high-flying New Orleans Saints invade the Georgia Dome.
In spite of all the pro-Saints betting action, the Falcons remain a -3½ betting favored in this game.
Just a few moments before this TNF matchup gets underway, 58% of the betting population put money on New Orleans at +3½, while only 42% took the Falcons to cover the spread.
In the OVER/UNDER category, which by the way dropped from 56 points this morning to 55 at the present time, bettors continue to lean towards the OVER (50%) rather than the UNDER (40%).
Now that we’ve looked at how the general consensus sees this game playing out, let’s see if we can get you a winning Thursday Night Football predictions! For starters, opening kickoff is slated for 8:30 p.m. EST live on NFL Network.
There’s no question that when it comes to NFL power rankings, these teams are not on the same level.
Coming into week 13, Atlanta ranks fifth in the NFL in that category, while the Saints are good enough for 12th place in the league.
Having that said, despite all the discrepancies in their records, statistics or otherwise, these teams are actually very similar in their offensive approach:
Saints Offense (Rank):
- Points: 28.0 (5th)
- Total Yards 381.9 (8th)
- Pass Yards 290.5 (5th)
- Rush Yard: 91.5 (27th)
Falcons Offense (Rank):
- Points: 26.7 (8th)
- Total Yards: 385.9 (6th)
- Pass Yards: 297.6 (2nd)
- Rush Yards: 88.3 (28th)
However, you don’t have to look very far to find the biggest difference between these ball-clubs, and that’s on the defensive side of the football:
While Atlanta’s “D” comes in ranked sixth in the league in points allowed, the Saints sit in a miserable 28th place. The Falcons are 14th in total yards allowed on the season, while the Saints are dead-last in that category… etcetera.
When it comes down to it, the offensive key for a Falcons win is going to depend on how many points they can put on the board anchored by the run game.
On the other side of the football, the best defense the Falcons can play tonight is keeping Drew Brees off the field.
Thus, the key statistic for this game will be “time of possession”, which takes me back to my original point:
How effective can the Dirty Birds’ running game be against a defense that ranks 32nd in the league in that department?
The bottom line is that the Falcons need to dominate the clock on offense to have a shot this evening.
For the Saints, however, the gameplan is different. Brees & Co. will need to get into a bit of a shootout and things will go their way.
In either case, no matter what happens, I simply don’t see a team as desperate as NOLA, with as many offensive weapons as they possess, losing by more than a safety tonight.
I’m siding with the N.O. Saints because: A desperate team is a very dangerous opponent, and win or lose, I don’t see the differential on the scoreboard being in favor of the home team by more than a field goal.
- NFL Picks: New Orleans Saints [+3½]
Subscribe to receive the latest news, picks and predictions happening around the world of sports.