NFL Free Pick: New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons
Date/Time: November 21, 2013 8:20 pm EST
Television: NFL Network
NFL Gambling Odds from JustBet
NFL Betting Favorite: Saints -7.5
Normally a matchup between the Saints and the Falcons is a battle for the top spot in the NFC South. It won’t be this time. New Orleans is in the top spot, but the Falcons have completely fallen apart this year. Injuries and a lack of execution have led to the undoing of the once mighty Falcons. New Orleans needs another win to stay in front in the NFC South. Can the Falcons put up a fight at home on Thursday night?
The New Orleans Saints were behind for much of last week’s game against the San Francisco 49ers. The Saints rallied late and kicked two field goals in the closing minutes of the game to edge out the 49ers. New Orleans started out the season with a tough win at home against Atlanta when the Falcons were at full strength. Earlier in the year, this game looked like it would be one of the toughest games on the Saints schedule, but the Falcons massive fall off has made this game look a little less daunting.
While the Saints are an impressive 8-2 overall this year, they are just 2-2 on the road. New Orleans’ offense has become high-octane once again this year with Sean Payton back on the sidelines. The Saints are second in the NFL in points scored per game and second in total offense. The big change for New Orleans has been defensively. New Orleans has been very good on the defensive side under Rob Ryan. The secondary ranks third in the NFL in pass defense. The Saints are fourth in the NFL in points per game allowed at just 18.3 per contest.
It feels like Atlanta’s season has gone as bad as it possibly could. This is team that has had one of the best records in football every year for the last three seasons. They have a franchise quarterback leading the way and great pass catchers. Julio Jones is on the IR, and Roddy White hasn’t been healthy for much of the season either. Tony Gonzalez is the only consistent target Matt Ryan has had all year long. Ryan’s numbers have dropped off in a big way this year. After having a 99.1 quarterback rating last year, he has an 89.2 rating so far this year.
After starting 1-1, the Falcons have lost 7 of their last 8 games. Atlanta’s defense has been a bit of a weakness in the past few years, and they have been even worse this year. The Falcons defense often did a good job bending without breaking in the past, but they’ve been unable to contain the damage this year. Opponents are averaging 29.2 points per game against the Falcons defense. They have given up at least 33 points in each of their last three games.
Free NFL Pick: Saints -7.5
The Falcons are just too bad to back right now unless you get a huge number. The Saints need this game, while you have to think the Falcons have packed it in for the year.
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