Free NFL Thursday Night Week 14 Expert Picks – Saints vs. Falcons Prediction
New Orleans Saints -1 at Atlanta Falcons +1 Total: 53 points
Week 14 starts off with a bang as the game with the highest total of the week kicks off this week of NFL action. It’s an important game, as well, for the playoff aspirations of both teams. This will be the first meeting between the Saints and Falcons this season. They will meet again in two weeks with that game being played in New Orleans. The odds in this article from SportsBetting.ag
The Saints – Heavenly Defense
It’s surprising to be talking about New Orleans and not heaping on praise to Drew Brees and the offense. Brees has been great this season, but he hasn’t had to do nearly as much this year with the Saints’ defense turning into an above-average unit.
New Orleans improved to 9-3 on the season and first in their division with a tough road win against the Los Angeles Rams. Once again utilizing their running game, for the most part, they led for all of this one and held off the Rams’ offense in the second half to win 26-20.
It’s notable that the Saints did not have Marshon Lattimore in last week’s contest. However, the standout rookie cornerback, is tentatively expected to suit up on Thursday evening. His return is critical for the defense. The cornerback on the opposite side, Ken Crawley, was on the injury report all last week, but did play on Sunday and experienced no setbacks.
The Falcons – Time is Running Out
Atlanta sits at 7-5 after a pathetic offensive performance at home last week to the visiting Vikings. They lost the game 14-9, as they could get nothing going on that side of the ball. The defense played well against Minnesota offense that has been scoring a lot of points lately, and that was without two starting cornerbacks.
The good news is that the Falcons do expect to get Brian Poole and Desmond Trufant back, which will undoubtedly be a help against Drew Brees and Michael Thomas. However, Atlanta will be down starting left guard, Andy Levitre, which will hurt their running game. He is PFF’s No. 16 overall guard.
The Falcons currently sit out of the playoff picture with their record. Another loss would almost certainly doom their playoff hopes, as they are unlikely to get a Wild Card spot and they are two games behind the Saints and a game behind the Panthers in the NFC South.
Betting Action – Odds On The Falcons
Atlanta opened as a -2 favorite, but the odds have swung the other way, and now sit at New Orleans -1. Bettors seem to be favoring New Orleans so far. The total opened at 55 points, and despite most tickets coming on the over, it’s down to 53.5 and 53 at most sportsbooks.
Line movement in this one hasn’t been too significant so far. I am leaning towards the Saints, but this is a game where I am a much bigger fan of the total. I think we’re used to seeing high-scoring games between these two franchises. For what seems like forever, they’ve always been potent offense, with weak defenses.
New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons Prediction
Atlanta’s defense is still below average, but they did an excellent job last week while missing their top two cornerbacks. As mentioned above, they’re expected to return this week. The Saints are also to likely to get Lattimore back into the fold.
I not only think that these defenses are being undervalued, but the amount of running that these teams do is also flying under the radar. They’re far more focused on their running games (especially the Saints) than in years past. I expect this total to continue to drop as we get closer to kick off.