Monday Night Football NFL Picks: Saints at Falcons Betting Odds
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 12/27/2010
The Atlanta Falcons have not lost in the Georgia Dome since Dec. 13… of 2009. They are now one win away from not having to play another road game until September of 2011.
If the Falcons (12-2) can get past NFC South rival New Orleans (10-4) on Monday night in Atlanta at 8:30 p.m. EST, then Atlanta will earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC, the first-round bye and the home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Falcons have won seven consecutive games at home. The last team to beat them in the Georgia Dome was… guess who…the Saints. This week’s final Monday Night Football broadcast of the season has all the makings for another classic.
The goal for Atlanta is the No. 1 seed, but this is by no means a must-win. In Week 17 Atlanta hosts lowly Carolina (2-13). The Falcons need only one win to clinch the top-overall seed. The Saints only need one win to clinch a playoff spot. They can either get it against Atlanta or in Week 17 at home against Tampa Bay.
Seven wins in a row at home is impressive for Atlanta, but what is even more impressive is Matt Ryan’s streak of success in the dome. The last two games the Falcons lost at home Ryan was knocked out of the lineup and Chris Redman started. The Falcons have not lost a home game that Ryan started since Nov. 16 2008, that is a streak of 15 straight games. Overall Ryan is 19-1 as a starter in the Georgia Dome.
Earlier this season in Week 3 when Atlanta visited the Big Easy, the Saints were a completely one-dimensional team. They attempted only 16 rushes all game compared to 50 rushes by Atlanta. Drew Brees was 30-of-38 for 365 yards and three scores, but he was also picked off twice. Atlanta won the game thanks to turnovers and its balanced attack (215 passing yards, 202 rushing yards). What the game will be remembered for the most is New Orleans kicker Garret Hartley missing a 29-yard field goal in overtime. If he makes that kick this game would likely decide the division winner.
Even with the way Ryan and Roddy White are playing this is still a run-first offense. The Falcons are seventh in the league averaging 123 yards per game on the ground. The Saints are just the opposite. They rank 26th in the league in rushing (96 yards per game) and third in passing (282 yards per game). What could end being a major difference maker here is the Saints inability to stop the run (20th in the league).
The Saints are battling some slight injury issues with cornerback Jabari Green (knee), running back Christopher Ivory (hamstring) and defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove (knee) all questionable. The Falcons are in much better shape with no recent injuries hampering them right now.
Saints at Falcons Betting Odds and Line Moves
The line opened at Atlanta -2.5, according to NFL lines, and slowly moved down to Atlanta -2. The total has steadily risen throughout the week. After opening at 47.5, the total is now at 49. NFL odds are courtesy of Sportsbook.com
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons Trends
The final month of the year has been kind to the Falcons (6-0 ATS), but not so kind to the Saints (1-7 ATS). The Saints have also struggled on the road against teams with a winning record (1-5 ATS) and struggled in the division (3-8 ATS). In the last six meetings between the two teams the Falcons are 4-2ATS and the ‘over’ is 5-1.
Monday Night Football NFL Picks: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
The line is curiously low for a team as red-hot as Atlanta and as dominant as it has been at home. That is likely due to motivation factor as the Saints desperately need a win here to avoid a must-win game in Week 17. The Falcons may not need a win, but a win here would give them two full weeks to rest their starters (Week 17 and a bye week) and Atlanta has proven a lot by winning three consecutive games on the Road. The Falcons can run the ball, the Saints cannot. And only giving two points is the best price you will get for Atlanta in the dome. Take the Falcons giving the points.
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