New Orleans Saints
(10-4, 6-8 ATS)
(12-2, 10-4 ATS)
A tremendous swing game could be in the cards on Monday Night Football in the Peach State this weekend. In the final edition of MNF this year, NFL betting fans will dive right into the clash between the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons in a battle of what might be the best two teams in the NFC.
The swing that could occur in this game for the Saints is just huge. They are still alive for the NFC South crown and the No. 1 seed in the conference, but they need to win out and get some help along the way. They also know if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win on Sunday that they need to win this game to avoid setting up a do or die showdown with the Bucs next week at home that no one in black and gold wants to see. The offense is just about as healthy as it could be right now, though there is still a question mark surrounding leading rusher RB Chris Ivory. Still, this is a pass first team and always will be for as long as QB Drew Brees is in charge of the offense. He has thrown for 4,122 yards and 31 TDs this year, and though he also has 19 INTs, there is no doubt that he is an MVP candidate in his own right, especially knowing that his running game has been so shaky and is averaging less than 100 yards per game. WR Marques Colston is on his way to the Pro Bowl this year in all likelihood. He has caught 82 passes for 1,002 yards and has seven scores.
Atlanta really doesn’t want to be forced into playing hard next week against the Carolina Panthers in the regular season finale. Winning this game would win the NFC South and the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs, and the road to the Super Bowl would run through the Georgia Dome, a place where QB Matt Ryan has only lost one time in his career. Ryan has an argument about being an MVP candidate as well, though he might not be the best player on his team. Yes, he has thrown for 3,321 yards and 25 scores against nine picks, but both RB Michael Turner and WR Roddy White know that they are the keys to this team as well. Turner has been run into the ground, carrying the ball a whopping 300 times for 1,256 yards and 11 scores this year. White, a surefire Pro Bowler, leads the NFL with 106 receptions and has 1,284 yards and eight trips to the end zone to show for his work. Though this secondary is much maligned at times, we have to remember that this pass rush is amazing. DE John Abraham is still searching for the league lead in that category, as he is just a half sack behind with a dozen for the year.
Though the Saints really should have won this fixture the first time around, Atlanta hung in there the entire way. Now, the Falcons can really push New Orleans to the brink and would love to do so. This probably isn’t the final chapter in this rivalry this year, but we think that the second verse will be the same as the first.
NFL Free Pick: Atlanta Falcons -2