Watching NFC South teams play in 2014 is like sitting through a Twilight Marathon, all sparkles and self-loathing.. With the Bucs at 2-12 and out of the playoffs, three talented teams with losing records can still win the division crown and this weekend the first place New Orleans Saints are 5 point ATS betting favorites at home when they host the third place Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Saints are back in 1st place in the NFC South! Big showdown against the Falcons on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/cOX9Nkq1Cr
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) December 16, 2014
The Atlanta Falcons have lost two straight and need to win this game otherwise they will end 2014 on vacation. None of that will matter if they can knock of the Saints. Atlanta managed to pull out an OT rabbit out of their hat in week one when these teams previously met.
New Orleans notched another road win on their belt last week and come home, where they haven’t played well this year, needing the win to almost secure their division crown with their final game going against the Bucs.
Can the 5 point underdog Falcons upset the Saints ATS this week? Keep reading.
Matchup: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
Date: Dec. 21, 2014
Start Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Superdome
TV Info: FOX
Radio: New Orleans Vs Atlanta
Point Spread: Saints -5.5
Game Total: 56.5
Analyzing My Week 16 NFL ATS Upset Pick – Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
The Atlanta Falcons are 5-9 on the season after losing 27-20 at home to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week. The team missed WR Julio Jones, who’s been dealing with a hip injury, but expected to play this Sunday. Jones is second only behind Antonio Brown in receiving yards in the league with 1428 yards and 6 TDs. Atlanta has the 5th best passing team in the NFL and the 24t rank when running the ball.
— Atlanta_Falcons (@Atlanta_Falcons) December 16, 2014
"We’re confident that he’ll be ready to go this week," head coach Mike Smith told reporters in Atlanta on Monday, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Steven Jackson leads Atlanta in rushing with 698 yards and is definitely not playing as the “has been” everyone billed him to be early this season.
QB Matt Ryan has completed 356 of his 541 passes, for 4112 yards, 27 TDs & 12 INTs with a 96.0 passer rating. WR Roddy White is his second best target with 762 receiving yards and 7 TDs.
The New Orleans Saints lead the division with a 6-8 dead skunk record after beating the Chicago Bears 31-15 on Monday Night Football, with QB Drew Brees completing 29 of his 36 passes for 375 yards, 3 TDs & 0 INTs.
Drew Brees last night had his 46th game with at least 300 passing yards and 3 TD passes That's tied with Peyton Manning for most EVER!
— ESPN Monday Night (@ESPNMondayNight) December 16, 2014
The Saints 3rd ranked passing offense combined with the 9th ranked rushing offense is averaging 26 points and 422.6 yards per game and they are led by QB Drew Brees who has completed 70 percent of his passes with 31 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Mark Ingram leads the New Orleans ground attack with 869 yards and seven touchdowns and Jimmy Graham is the Saints leading receiver with 73 catches and nine touchdowns.
The Saints defense has been dreadful allowing 26.7 points and a 31st ranked 390.1 yards per game and they are minus seven in turnover ratio. Curtis Lofton leads the Saints D with 130 tackles, Kenny Vaccaro has 70 tackles, and Junior Galette has 9.0 sacks.
The usually reliabe on home-field Saints have lost four games at the Superdome. Their last win coming in OT against the lowly Bucks in week 5. Can they plug the holes in their unreliable play on home field and cover as 5 point ATS betting favorites this week?
— PFTonNBCSN (@PFTonNBCSN) December 16, 2014
Head coaches Mike Smith and Sean Payton have faced each other 13 times with a clear edge for Payton and the Saints who lead the series 9-4. The NFL Point spread has the Saints favorites by 5.5 points, and the game total is currently at 56 points.
The Atlanta Falcons are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games as a road underdog of 3.5-10.0 points, 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games, but 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games in December, and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. NFC South teams.
The New Orleans Saints are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite, 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games, 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games following a SU win, 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games on field turf, and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games as a home favorite.
The Saints couldn’t stop the aged FOX NFL pregame team on the field let alone the high scoring Atlanta offense.