I'm feeling pretty solid about this one after last week's performance. Also: the Saints can burn in hell.
Falcons 194, Saints -2
F** THE SAINTS!!!!
Falcons 30, Saints 21
This game will take one of two courses: 1) The Falcons play as normal, which is likely enough to beat the Saints or 2) the Falcons do everything in their power to get Julio both the receptions AND yardage records, in which case I think the Falcons actually lose the game in doing so. I have a feeling they'll be choosing option 1, even though it's fair to say we'd like to see Julio break all those records. The Saints are in the middle of coaching and QB turmoil and their defense hasn't gotten any better. The Falcons are riding a huge high after taking out the undefeated Panthers and could stand to ride the momentum well into 2016 by taking a winning record into next season. Draft pick be damned, folks, I say we take the Saints out.
Falcons 24, Saints 23
After a struggle-win against the Jags and a redeeming win against the Panthers, the Falcons appear to be improving at a time when it's too little too late. However, I believe Dan Quinn wants to finish his first year with a winning record even if he does intend to give the young guys a longer look. The Saints are a team that can score a load of points, but their defense is prone to giving up even more. While no one will mistake the Falcons defense for a great one, they have had two very good games in a row and young players are making the difference. I think this Falcons defense does just enough to hold Brees and company back, while Ryan, Julio and Freeman will do just enough to finish the season on a winning note.
Nate Butler Jr.
Falcons 31,Saints 17
It's the final game of the season and one of the biggest games for the team no matter the records, Falcons-Saints! After winning consecutive games, Dan Quinn has the Falcons looking solid to end this season on a high note. Atlanta hasn't scored 30 points since October and they should have a great chance to accomplish that on Sunday against a very, very bad New Orleans Saints defense. I expect a nice battle in the first half from both Atlanta and New Orleans and after the half, I could see Atlanta pulling away behind Devonta Freeman and a potential record breaking performance from Julio Jones. We'll end 2015 season on a high note on Sunday!
Falcons 24, Saints 21
Ever since losing to Carolina, every game Atlanta has played has been building towards a better future with Dan Quinn. The game this weekend doesn't look to hold any meaning on the outside, but the importance is there for the players and their respective fanbases. Drew Brees and the Saints have had no trouble moving the ball this season, but the defense has been their Achilles heel. The Falcons' defense is much improved from recent seasons, and we're more than familiar with Saints' passing attack. I don't see either team lighting up the scoreboard scoreboard, but I do think the Falcons finish their season on a high note against their most hated rival. #RallyForRagland
Falcons 30, Saints 20
To get swept by the worst New Orleans team in the Drew Brees-Sean Payton era would be difficult to digest. Atlanta would go 1-5 in the division, which is a complete reversal from going 5-1 last year. The NFC South has developed into one of the better divisions, but no team wants to continuously lose to their division rivals. This game has some meaning besides seeing young players more and Gino Gradkowski auditioning for center. Julio Jones will likely fall short of reaching both receiving records. Anything is possible against the Saints "defense", as long as the offensive line can contain Cameron Jordan. He took over the second half, along with Benjamin Watson. If they can hold both players to modest games, there is no reason why the Falcons shouldn't end their season on a high note. Grady Jarrett's return should provide a big boost as well. The fifth-round pick has easily been Atlanta's best rookie this season.
Falcons 34, Saints 21
The Saints defense has been one of the worst in the NFL this season and against the Falcons in the first game, the Saints didn't have a legitimate answer for Devonta Freeman. The Falcons should take advantage of this and run Freeman at least 20 times. With Tevin Coleman out and the Falcons should focusing around Freeman, Julio Jones should see some openings throughout the day. The Saints just don't have the defense to keep up with the Falcons. On defense, the Falcons need to create a ton of pressure on the injured Drew Brees to win this game. With Ra'shede Hageman coming off one of his best games, the Falcons should focus on putting him one-on-one inside versus Jahri Evans. Vic Beasley coming off the left side of the defense with the Saints having injury issues with all three of their tackles should allow Vic the chance to get a couple of sacks. The Saints will always score SOME points against the Falcons. But hopefully, the Falcons defense can limit them much better than they did in the Superdome.
Falcons 31, Saints 23
Bold predictions incoming! The Falcons haven't scored more than 25 points in a game since Week 5, but they'll finally do so against the Saints. The other two involve Julio Jones: he'll break Marvin Harrison's single-season reception mark of 143 and Calvin Johnson's receiving record of 1,964 yards. Jones needs 17 receptions for 243 yards to break both. The Saints defense is a tire fire, so both achievements are possible. Back in 2011, Drew Brees and the Saints made a concerted to break Dan Marino's passing record on Monday night in front of the Superdome crowd. The Falcons should return the favor.
Falcons 27, Saints 24
It doesn't seem real likely that this Falcons team will blow this Saints team out, considering New Orleans has been hot and the Falcons have made maddeningly close games a habit. Home, with a ton of motivation to win this one, and with no real attachment to playing some of their least effective veterans in the final game of the season, Atlanta should prevail.