A few weeks back, I stated on the The Falcoholic postgame podcast that the Falcons will lose to the Vikings and win out to capture the NFC South title and elbow their way into the playoffs. I stand by that even with their play the past couple of weeks. The Falcons know what is at stake and they are aware of their issues they need to improve upon. Luckily for them, the run game has been a force for the past few games and a top Saints run defender (Kenny Vaccaro) is ruled out due to injury. The Freeman-Coleman combo comes back with a vengeance.
Falcons points on points on points - Saints fewer points
The Falcons still have a lot of critics. And all their critics want to talk about is unfinished business. They’re frequently accused of not living up to their potential. It’s like everyone is sitting around, waiting for them to fall off a cliff. But momentum is a real thing, and the Falcons have it. They’ve now won five of their last six games. Are they a perfect team? Absolutely not. But this isn’t the “disorganized” offense we saw a couple months ago. This is not the inexperienced defense that couldn’t keep up in the Super Bowl. The Falcons may not be as shiny as they were last season, but they’ve battled to get to this point, and they’re not going home without a fight.
Saints 24 - Falcons 17
Forgive me for being a humbug, but the Falcons might land a lump of black and gold coal in their stockings this Christmas. Despite going 6-2 after that dreadful New England game, Atlanta has been living far too dangerously. They got lucky that Deion Jones is a Saints killer earlier this month. Otherwise, they would have lost that game, hands down. Here, the Falcons have to face Alvin Kamara for the first time (legitimately), and they're coming off yet another uneven, uninspiring win. The Falcons are going to have to learn to play consistently to beat a team like New a Orleans on the road. Maybe another loss will do them some good? They could win, but it just doesn't look likely. But, hey, don't sweat it, the playoffs can still be had by beating Carolina at home next week.
Falcons 27 - Saints 24
Both teams need this one pretty badly, but the Falcons tend to play up when they absolutely need to. Don’t forget, this team won in Seattle with a healthy Earl Thomas. New Orleans is a daunting place, but it’s no Seattle, which means there’s no reason we won’t have a crack at winning. That said, Sark will need to call his best game yet in order for the offense to score enough points to win. A motivated Saints team will almost assuredly be a threat to score 30 points at home. Can the Falcons pull it off? I think they can. If they win here, they’re going to wreck Carolina at home for week 17.
Saints 34 - Falcons 24
As long as Alvin Kamara remains healthy, New Orleans has too much firepower. The multi-dimensional playmaker offers so much to their offense. Sean Payton greatly missed him in the first meeting. It made the offense more predictable and conservative. While Deion Jones is one of the most athletic linebackers in the league, it’s going to be a tall order to stop the future offensive rookie of the year.
On the other side, they will have to cope with the future defensive rookie of the year. Marcus Lattimore is going to challenge Julio Jones unlike most other corners. Questions about Jones’ health won’t help matters either. Unless the Falcons run the ball effectively and control the clock, it’s going to be a tall order for them to win in a hostile environment.
Falcons 27 - Saints 28
As was the case against the Vikings, I believe Atlanta can win this, but I’m skeptical that they will. This team has won two of its last three and shown some impressive toughness in doing so, but they’ve also struggled mightily at times, something that doesn’t show signs of turning after nearly a full season of up-and-down play. On the road in New Orleans, against a team with Alvin Kamara at full health, I think this is one they can very easily drop. The loss wouldn’t be fatal, but it would both make the Week 17 home game against the Panthers a critical one and give Saints fans a chance to talk trash, so I very much hope I am wrong.