NFL Week 16 Pick: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, December 20, 2017 12:36 AM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 12:36 AM UTC

Sunday late-afternoon’s matchup between the Seahawks and Cowboys might get all the hype in Week 16, but this matchup is clearly the top game of the weekend. Survivor Pick: New Orleans.

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-5.5, 53)

A ton at stake here. Let’s start with the simplest two: Atlanta will be at minimum a wild-card team with a victory. The Falcons currently hold down the No. 6 spot and if they do win, the Lions, Seahawks and Cowboys are all out. The Saints are tied for the NFC South lead with Carolina, one game ahead of the Falcons. However, New Orleans wins any head-to-head tiebreaker with the Panthers. New Orleans will clinch the NFC South with a win over the Falcons combined with a Panthers loss at home to Tampa (not likely). The Saints will clinch a playoff berth with a win or with a Cowboys-Seahawks tie. The Falcons will repeat as NFC South champions if they win this week and next at home vs. Carolina. A New Orleans loss here combined with a Panthers home win against the Buccaneers would drop the Saints to the No. 6 playoff seed with one week to go. Should the Saints and Panthers both win this week, New Orleans clinches at least a wild-card spot but not yet the division. If the Saints and Panthers both lose Week 16, the Falcons would jump into a three-way tie for the division lead. In that case, the Falcons would hold the tie-breaker for the top spot and put the Saints in the No. 5 playoff seed and the Panthers at No. 6. Got all that? I’m simply taking the home team here and the fact Atlanta is on a short week.

  • Falcons are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games.
  • Saints are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games following a straight up win.
Free NFL Pick: Saints -5.5Best Line Offered: Bovada

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Atlanta didn’t play great Monday night but escaped in Tampa, 24-21, when the Bucs missed a tying 54-yard field goal as time expired. Devonta Freeman was a beast with 126 yards rushing and a score on 22 carries and five catches for 68 yards. The Falcons rushed for a season-high 201 yards even though Tevin Coleman was out injured. New Orleans beat the visiting Jets 31-19 on Sunday. Mark Ingram ran for two touchdowns and gained 151 yards from scrimmage. Michael Thomas became the second NFL player with at least 90 receptions in his first two seasons as he caught nine passes for 93 yards, including a pivotal fourth-quarter touchdown. The Saints and Falcons met on Dec. 7 in Atlanta and the Falcons won 20-17. Deion Jones made a leaping interception of a Drew Brees pass in the end zone with 1:25 remaining. The Falcons won despite three picks from Matt Ryan. One thing to note, however, was Saints running back Alvin Kamara, the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite, left very early with a concussion. He’s still leading the NFL in yards per rush and has 12 total touchdowns. So that was a big loss. The only game in the past eight he didn’t score was that one.

  • Under is 6-1 in Falcons last 7 vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Under is 4-1 in Saints last 5 games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game.
Free NFL Pick: Under 53Best Line Offered: Heritage

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