The Saints and Falcons face off for Week 6 of Thursday Night Football in the Big Easy. NO is a 4 point underdog against an Undefeated Atlanta team but they are our NFL pick tonight, find out why.
Atlanta Falcons (-4) at New Orleans Saints 8:25 ET
The surging Atlanta Falcons visit the struggling New Orleans Saints in this NFC South division rivalry to kickoff Week 6 of NFL action. As division rivals, in last year’s watered-down NFC South, these teams meet twice each year. Last year, the 6-10 SU Falcons beat the 7-9 SU New Orleans Saints twice. On opening week, Atlanta won (37-34) at home, rolling up 568 yards. On December 21st, the script was flipped with Atlanta prevailing (30-14), more because of a (+4) net TO margin than the 403-328 yardage differential. This year, the Saints continue their struggles at 1-4 SU, 2-3 ATS, while the Falcons have surged to the division lead at 5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS. I would love to follow the momentum of each of these teams, pulling the trigger with the Falcons to continue their success and the Saints to continue to flounder. That’s the easy way out! But, we have made money over the years, and especially this year, by going against the grain with great success once again in the NFL. That type of thinking will put us squarely on New Orleans, as it is a virtual certainty that more than 70% of the public will be lining up on the Falcons.
What a season for Atlanta! Coming off consecutive seasons in which they had gone 10-22 SU, under former HC Mike Smith allowing 27 PPG and 388 YPG, the Falcons change leadership. In with new HC Dan Quinn, the former DC at Seattle, who apparently has made a world of difference! The offense continues to prosper with QB Ryan connecting with such key targets as WR Jones to lead an attack unit that averages 32/406 per game. Only Cincinnati, San Diego and New England average more yards than that. But, it has not only come through the air, it has also come on the ground where the Falcons are running 31 times per game (will get you the money over 80% of the time) and allowing opponents to rush for 20 times per game (will also get you the money over 80% of the time.) Their overland advantage is 126-78. That brings down the money 75% of the time. Last week, we faded Atlanta with success at the price, despite the fact the Falcons were an overland winner once again. Outrushing the, at that time, No. 1 rushing game of the Redskins, the Atlanta advantage at the point of attack was 32/176 to 24/51. The Falcons survived OT for a 6 point victory.
New Orleans is a franchise heading the other way. Two weeks ago, on SNF, they squeezed by Dallas (26-20) on this field. It snapped a 0-3 SU start and a 0-6 SU ATS run on a once strong home field, where through the middle of last year, they were 20-0 SU and 18-2 ATS. Last week, however, New Orleans had a 2nd half meltdown at Philly, as they were badly mauled at the point of attack 34/186 to 21/96. A (+2) net TO edge for the Eagles sealed the deal in a (39-17) second half wipeout. Now, there is growing tension in the New Orleans’ clubhouse with HC Payton being rumored to switch jobs and the head of DC Ryan on the chopping block, with a Saints’ defense allowing 29 PPG, 409 YPG and 6.7 YP play (THE WORST NUMBER IN THE NFL).
If this were Sunday, I promise it would be the NFL pick as the contratian play of the week. A (+4) point impost puts the contrary NFL odds in our favor. For tonight, we will settle with only an unrated opinion on New Orleans.
NFL Pick: New Orleans Saints +4 (-105) at Bovada