Atlanta’s NFC South hopes rest on a win Thursday night.
With four games left in the regular season, the Falcons hopes of repeating as NFC South champion rest on a prime time win. 2016 NFL MVP Matt Ryan will welcome the division-leading Saints to Atlanta for a Thursday Night Football showdown in Week 14. The game starts at 8:25 p.m. ET and broadcast live on NFL Network/NBC (live stream).
The Falcons’ quest to retain their NFC title has been a rocky one. Atlanta is off to a 7-5 start that features quality wins over teams like Green Bay (with Aaron Rodgers) and Seattle, but last also failed to find its championship gear in losses to Miami and Buffalo.
The Saints, on the other hand, have risen to the top of the South behind a very un-Saints strategy — wearing down opponents with defense and a dynamic running game. Drew Brees has thrown only four touchdown passes in his last four games, but New Orleans is 3-1 in that stretch, which includes wins over Washington and the Panthers.
Time, TV channel, and streaming info
- Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
- TV: NFL Network/CBS
- Streaming: NBC Sports | Amazon Prime | fuboTV
- Odds: New Orleans is favored by 1 point.
Saints at Falcons news:
- The Saints have gotten a special teams boost from an unlikely source — their third-string quarterback.
- The Falcons were their own worst enemy in last week’s loss to the Vikings.
The reality is the offense looked competent for most of the game. The play-calling appeared to be fine (most of the time). The biggest issues the Falcons ran into were — again — self-inflicted. They were hit with quite a few penalties (some did not look legitimate for what it’s worth) and made some untimely drops. Likewise, a couple of key throws were off-target enough to cause incomplete passes.
- What makes Alvin Kamara so dangerous? It’s that even when you know he’s coming, you can’t stop him.
Kurt Coleman described why Kamara is so tough to tackle earlier this week.
“He kind of goes limp to the side and the (defender) kind of shrugs off.”
Kamara just did exactly that … to Coleman
— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) December 3, 2017
- The Atlanta offensive line will be without a key contributor Thursday night.
Levitre went out early against the Minnesota Vikings, and now we know why. Ben Garland is pretty solid in the run game, but gets overmatched in pass protection. He’s a good backup, but is definitely a downgrade from Levitre. Austin Pasztor is listed only as an offensive lineman, and has the size to play inside. It may still be too early for rookie Sean Harlow, but he at least has an outside shot at being active on game days.
Will New Orleans’ jacked-up running game grind down the Falcons?
The Saints boast the league’s No. 3 rushing offense thanks to the emergence of veteran Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara. That pair has combined for 16 touchdowns and more than 1,500 rushing yards this fall on the ground. Kamara has been equally devastating in the passing game; he’s the club’s third-leading receiver. Together, the duo has helped take the pressure off Brees’ big arm and revamped the New Orleans offense.
Saints at Falcons prediction:
Six of our eight experts think New Orleans will win in their Week 14 picks. OddsShark’s computer goes against the grain with the Falcons, however.
Let’s just cancel Thursday Night Football
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