Thursday Night Football Preview — New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
The New Orleans Saints are drawing closer to salting away the NFC South title, and a victory over the Atlanta Falconson Thursday night can certainly go a long way toward getting them there. On the other hand, if they lose this road game, they could have the Carolina Panthers drawing into a tie with them this weekend. So this is obviously a game with a lot on the line as these teams kick off at 8:25 PM ET at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Television is provided by both NBC and NFL Network, and if you are a BetAnySports customer, you can not only get reduced juice before the game starts, but also real-time wagering while the contest is in progress, as you access the state-of-the-art software of Live Betting Ultra.
The Falcons, of course, were the NFC champions last season, and they are facing the very real possibility of being left out in the cold. They are a full game behind both Carolina and Seattle, who would right now be the conference’s two wild-card clubs if the season ended today. But they’ve got a chance to make a big move, because they play New Orleans twice in these next three weeks. So nothing is necessarily guaranteed to anybody. The Falcons had won three games in a row, and looked like their offense was finally approaching their levels of last season, when they were the highest-scoring team in the league. In fact, they rolled up 95 points in those three games, but they were stopped short by the Minnesota Vikings last week, taking a 14-9 defeat. Atlanta was in ten third-down situations and converted only one of them. Now they face a Saints defense that is not as good as Minnesota’s, but has made a lot of strides this season.
In the Thursday night football odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, it’s all even:
New Orleans Saints pick
Over 51.5 points -110
Under 51.5 points -110
One of the big things to watch in this game is whether New Orleans’ rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who is expected to come back and play after missing a couple of games with an ankle injury, can make Julio Jones a minor factor. Jones exploded a couple of weeks ago, catching a dozen passes for 253 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but last week, with Minnesota’s Xavier Rhoades blanketing him, he only had 24 yards in receptions. A big effort from Lattimore could go a long way toward cementing his status as Defensive Rookie of the Year front-runner.
What BetAnySports patrons have to look out for on the part of New Orleans is their sudden proficiency in running the football. They have called 45% running plays, in fact, and Alvin Kamara is emerging as a rookie star, averaging seven yards a carry and catching 60 passes from Drew Brees, who loves having though short-range outlets. Mark Ingram, with 42 receptions, is a tremendous complement, and these two players have combined for almost 2400 total yards from scrimmage. That’s what we call a “dynamic duo.”
And Brees, who has been sacked only 15 times, has been deadly accurate, completing 71.5% of his passes, with a quarterback rating of 104.2. There is no question he benefits from having the threat of the run behind him. And New Orleans the second-best in the NFL in points scored on a per-drive basis.
The Falcons have 32 sacks, but they don’t create a lot of mistakes, with just three interceptions coming from their stop unit. It could be an inviting situation for Brees, and we will move with the Saints, who have really found a formula that works on the offensive side.
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