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The Atlanta Falcons eight-game winning streak came to an end Monday night with a 17-14 loss to their NFC South rivals, the New Orleans Saints. The loss prevents the Falcons from clinching the NFC South crown and home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs – if only for a week. A win next week against the 2-13 Carolina Panthers will still lock everything down for Atlanta but this loss has a bigger effect on the mindset of Atlanta.
The Saints are all but locked in to the No. 5 seed which means the Falcons will likely see them again in the conference semi-finals. The Falcons have won 19 of 23 games at the Georgia Dome since 2008 but had their seven-game home winning streak snapped. Their last loss at home was also to the Saints. Psychologically, this was a bad loss. It puts doubts in the Falcons minds. They are no longer invincible.
Notes: The Falcons gained just 215 yards of total offense, the lowest total since Mike Smith took over in 2008.
After throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown earlier in the quarter, Drew Brees made up for it with a touchdown of his own to Jimmy Graham, giving the Saints a 17-14 lead in the fourth quarter.
After a three-and-out, the Falcons defense will need a stop to give their fofense another chance. If they could the stage would be set for Matt Ryan to deliver on his “Matty Ice” nickname as he attempts to drive the Falcons down for a game-winning touchdown or at the very least, a game-tying field goal. He’s done it all year and at home in the Georgia Dome, where he’s 19-1, is as good a place as any for this comeback.
The Falcons offense has struggled so far with under 200 total yards and it will take an impressive drive to earn this victory. If they can do it, it means they won’t have to play another game outside Georgia until the Super Bowl in Dallas. Monday Night Football, down by three. Who hasn’t played this scenario as a kid in the backyard?
Drew Brees has made some spectacular plays when he has been forced to improvise throughout his career. Against the Falcons, it backfired. Brees was pressured by Jonathan Babineaux and tried to flick a pass to Pierre Thomas but it was intercepted by Chauncey Davis and returned 26 yards for a touchdown giving the Falcons a 14-10 lead and nearly breaking all sound barriers in the Georgia Dome.
Brees had made a similar play earlier in the quarter and it was touted as a terrific play – even Favre-ian – by a savvy veteran but sometimes a player can try to do too much, as was the case with this pick six.
This was the Saints first turnover and the first time they trailed all game. The Falcons had a chance to take the lead earlier in the third quarter but a Michael Turner fumble at the goalline ended that threat.
Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White has made himself a key character in Atlanta Falcons-New Orleans Saints rivalry history this week. By which I’m referring to his Twitter outburst, not his impact on tonight’s game, though he is drawing quite a bit of attention from New Orleans defenders before, during, and after snaps.
While White leads the Falcons in receiving yards with 43, he left a few more on the field by dropping a first-down conversion. He has opened the field for Michael Jenkins to possibly end up with one of his best games of the past few seasons — Jenkins has five catches, tying his season high.
Mike Smith sat White for one play on the Falcons almost-touchdown drive after a late hit on Matt Ryan got the receiver good and stirred up. Other than that, he hasn’t been involved in as many post-play scuffles as you might’ve expected after such a heated week of chatter.
White also grabbed the touchdown that remains Atlanta’s only score. His excellent blocking hasn’t been much of a factor, as Michael Turner’s runs have largely been directed up the gut, to little avail.
It’s worth noting Turner’s one breakout run, a 27-yarder, came to the sideline, but I’m just talking out my butt because I really don’t know whether it was to White’s side. You can pretend you didn’t read this paragraph if you like.
Earlier this season, the Atlanta Falcons played four consecutive games without turning the ball over once but they’ve committed two turnovers in just over two-and-a-half quarters against the New Orleans Saints. The latest was by Michael Turner at the Saints goalline. The Falcons had a 2nd-and-1 but Turner couldn’t hang on and the Saints recovered their second fumble of the game.
This season, the Falcons have only turned the ball over 14 times and have a plus-13 turnover margin. It’s no surprise then, that they trail the Saints 10-7 in the third quarter. The Falcons have not committed three turnovers in a game this season and it would make this game nearly unwinnable if they did so here.
Turner’s goalline fumble was his first turnover in 417 touches, the longest active streak in the NFL. He still has 40 yards on 15 carries but would have put the Falcons up 14-10 had he held on.
In a surprising defensive struggle, the New Orleans Saints lead the Atlanta Falcons, 10-7, at halftime of Monday Night Football. The Saints opened the scoring behind a 52-yard field goal from Garrett Hartley and increased their lead to 10 after a Falcons turnover gave the Saints a short field and Pierre Thomas scored from two yards out.
The Falcons finally got their offense in gear with a 78-yard drive that ended with Roddy White catching a seven-yard touchdown from Matt Ryan to cut the lead to three. The Falcons get the ball in the second half but the Falcons are only 2-13 since 2008 when trailing at halftime.
Matt Ryan is 7-for-13 for 85 yards and one touchdown while Drew Brees is 20-for-26 for 135 yards. Michael Turner has 31 yards on 11 carries and Thomas has 24 rushing yards on seven carries. Roddy White needs three more catches and 56 yards to set the Falcons single-season receiving record for catches and yards.
After the New Orleans Saints converted an Atlanta Falcons turnover into seven points, the Falcons answered right back with a touchdown of their own. Matt Ryan found Roddy White on a seven-yard pass to cut the Saints lead to three, 10-7, in the second quarter of their Monday Night Football game.
The Falcons drive was an eight-play, 78-yard effort that included a 27-yard scamper by Michael Turner and was aided by a personal foul penalty on JoLonn Dunbar of the Saints when he hit Ryan late after the Falcons’ quarterback went into a slide. There have been a few contentious moments so far as it’s clear these two teams will not be going out for coffee afterward.
White, who needed just six catches for 99 yards to set a Falcons single-season receiving record has three catches for 43 yards. He’ll need just three more receptions and 56 more yards to put his name at the top of the Falcons’ receiving list.
A fumbled exchange between Todd McClure and Matt Ryan gave the New Orleans Saints the football at the Atlanta Falcons 34-yard line and five plays later, they cashed in with a two-yard touchdown run by Pierre Thomas to give the Saints a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The Saints have a healthy time of possession advantage, something the Falcons have always enjoyed this season. The Saints have 99 total yards – 76 through the air – and have gathered six first downs.
The Falcons’ offense has looked sluggish and the Saints have done a good job of clogging the running lanes and preventing Michael Turner from getting going. Turner has just five yards on seven carries while his counterpart, Thomas, has 23 yards on six carries and the aforementioned touchdown run.
A solid, clock-eating drive by the Falcons would be just what this team needs. It’s what they’ve done all season and now they have another shot.
After almost 14 scoreless minutes, the New Orleans Saints finally broke through with a 52-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley giving the Saints a 3-0 lead in the first quarter of the NFC South showdown on Monday Night Football. The long field goal capped an eight-play, 37-yard drive that used 4:19 of game time.
Drew Brees is 11-for-14 for 61 yards but has been under pressure all game. Lance Moore has two catches for 18 yards and Robert Meachem has three receptions for 14 yards. Neither ground game has been able to find their footing with only seven combined rushing yards in the first quarter with Pierre Thomas leading all rushers with four yards.
Matt Ryan threw for 41 yards in the first quarter on 3-for-7 passing and he’s found Roddy White twice for 36 yards. The second quarter is underway with the Falcons driving and looking to answer the Saints score.
Roddy White leads the NFL in catches with 106 and entered tonight’s game needing only six catches and 99 yards to set Atlanta Falcons team records for receptions and receiving yards in a single season. With five minutes left in the first quarter, he has one catch for 18 yards in a game that has been dominated by both defenses.
There have been six punts and only two first downs so far and it’s becoming clear that a turnover or a defensive play could swing the momentum in this NFC South showdown.
In Week 3 against the Saints, Roddy White caught five passes for 69 yards and one touchdown. Earlier this week, he was involved in a Twitter war of words with several Saints players after Trent Dilfer made some less-than-flattering comments about the Falcons. There’s no question every Saints defender knows where White is on every play and there’s already been two plays with penalties involving White.
The New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons have won 22 combined games this season thanks to their explosive offenses but it’s their defenses that are setting the tone early on in their Monday Night Football clash. Six minutes into the first quarter, we’ve seen four punts and only one first down in a scoreless game.
The Falcons have been able to pressure Drew Brees and force some bad throws and the Falcons offense couldn’t get going on both their three-and-outs. This games was expected to be a high-scoring affair but at this rate, getting past midfield is turning into quite the accomplishment.
Roddy White can set a team-record for catches and yards with six catches for 99 yards in this one and Matt Ryan can add to his already impressive 19-1 home record. The Falcons can clinch home field advantage in the NFC playoffs with a win while the Saints can keep their division hopes alive with a victory.
The spread for tonight’s Monday Night Football game between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons has stayed busy all week. The Falcons started out favored -2, meaning they’d be significant underdogs if the game were being played in New Orleans. Trap then went ham, as the line either went up or down depending on which service you were looking at and the angles at which moonlight was refracting through the swamp gas.
And finally, according to our Vegas bros at Odds Shark, the Falcons are -2.5 to -3 favorites. The public has slightly more confidence in Atlanta than they did a week ago, but still not enough to suggest these teams would be equally valued on a neutral playing field.
If Atlanta’s 6-0 2010 home record, plus Matt Ryan’s 19-1 overall home record, can’t convince Joe Betsonsports, then there’s only one thing left to do: see if 7-0 will do it. This isn’t the same Saints team the Falcons played earlier in the year — don’t expect a free Brett Favrely interception toss from Drew Brees this time around. The Falcons are healthy across the board, but the Saints are mighty healthy too, no Ghostface.
I am not laying a wager on this game.
The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints will meet tomorrow night on Monday Night Football, their fifth all-time MNF matchup. This is a newer thing, as all of the previous four have occurred since 2005. They’ve played each other the second-most of all teams, with the Falcons playing the Rams six times and the Saints playing the 49ers five times. The Saints hold a 3-1 series edge.
2005: The Falcons beat the Saints 36-17 in December to improve to 8-5, putting the franchise’s first-ever consecutive winning season in reach. They’d, of course, lose their final three to finish .500. Michael Vick gained 269 total yards and three touchdowns, throwing for 94 to Alge Crumpler, and man do I miss Aaron Brooks.
2006: The post-Katrina game, and one which could inspire any Falcons fan to express a concern or two about early-2006 referee impartiality, if you really want to press the issue. The Saints won 23-3 in their first game in the Superdome since Hurricane Katrina, with Drew Brees and Reggie Bush among the faces making their first appearances in the rivalry.
2007: The lost year featured a 34-14 November beatdown highlighted by three Brees touchdowns. Falcons QB Chris Redman nearly kept pace, throwing for almost 300 yards of his own.
2009: The Falcons had a chance to tie with seconds remaining in New Orleans, but a Matt Ryan lob was picked off and the Saints won 35-27. A should’ve-been-controversial interception return by Jabari Greer before halftime, which involved Roddy White being shoved to the ground while the ball was in the air, sent the Saints to the locker room with a two-score lead.
No, I only complained about referees once here, not twice. You're the one trying to force us to complain about 2006.
The Monday Night Football game between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons will decide many fantasy football championships. With most leagues ending in Week 16, the dynamic offensive players in this game will either make or break a fantasy season. Let me be your guide on your quest to fantasy football immortality.
QB Drew Brees - You have never benched Brees yet so don't start now. 290 passing yards and two touchdowns seems about right.
RB Michael Turner - Turner has been crushing defenses all season and the Saints' run defense will not be any different. Anything less than 100 yards and one touchdown would be a disappointment.
WR Marques Colston - Colston has regained his role of No. 1 receiver in New Orleans and he's always a red zone threat. 70 Yards and a score would make his owners very happy.
QB Matt Ryan - This isn't a great matchup and Ryan may struggle to meet his yearly average but he's too consistent to bench unless you have great other options. Let's say, 200 yards and one touchdown.
WR Lance Moore - Moore killed the Falcons in their Week 3 meeting and something tells me he'll play a big role in this one as well. I'm looking for 55 yards and one touchdown.
RB Pierre Thomas - The Saints' running game has been non-existent in recent weeks and even if it does find its footing, the Falcons' run defense is one of the league's best.
The rest of the key players are neutral plays. If you have no better options, feel free to use Robert Meachem, the Saints D/ST and Garrett Hartley for the Saints and Matt Bryant, the Falcons D/ST, Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White for the Falcons.
In the biggest game in the history of history, the Madden simulation engine predicts the Atlanta Falcons to clinch home field advantage with a come-from-behind victory over the New Orleans Saints. A come-from-behind victory by the Falcons? Yeah, that sounds about right. EA Sports and ESPN has the scoop.
Matty Ice leads Falcons to comeback win over Saints
The Atlanta Falcons might be the most under-the-radar 12-2 team in the history of the NFL. Make that 13-2 after this week, as the "Madden" simulation shows the Falcons scoring a late touchdown to take down the defending champs 17-16. Matt Ryan throws for 209 yards and two touchdowns, including the eventual game winner: an 11-yard bullet to "Rowdy" Roddy White.
Player of the Game: Matt Ryan
In the simulation, the Falcons fall behind early and trail 16-3 at halftime behind a Drew Brees to Marques Colston touchdown pass and three Garrett Hartley field goals. Trailing 16-3 on Monday Night Football in the Georgia Dome would be a disaster of epic proportions. In the words of Dr. Peter Venkman it would mean, "Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!"
The Falcons though, as they've done all season, would rise up after halftime. Matt Ryan would throw two touchdown passes along with 209 yards. Michael Turner rushed 23 times for 96 yards and Roddy White backed up his trash talk with eight catches for 82 yards and the game-winning touchdown.
Brees threw for 292 yards but was held to one touchdown and threw one interception. Reggie Bush led the Saints in rushing but managed only 30 yards on seven carries. Colston caught six passes for 72 yards and the Saints only touchdown.
It's still three days away from the NFC South showdown between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons but Roddy White has already had an eventful week off the field. On the field, he's set to claim another Falcons receiving milestone. If White catches six passes for 99 yards against the Saints on Monday Night Football, he'll break the Falcons single-season record for receptions and yards. It would be just another milestone in an incredible season for the sixth-year pro.
Last week, White became just the third Falcon to catch at least 100 passes in a season and now is just six catches away from breaking Terance Mathis's team record of 111 set in 1994. White has two games to get there and is averaging 7.6 receptions per game so it's a safe bet Mathis will be second on that list when this season draws to a close.
White could also break his own yardage record he set in 2008 when he caught 88 passes for 1,382 yards. He needs just 99 yards to break that record and is averaging 91.7 yards per game with two games to play. White has already established himself as the best receiver ever to wear a Falcons jersey but now he'll have the records to back it up.
The Atlanta Falcons have been rolling along getting a lot of love from the experts over the past three weeks. True, their competition (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks) hasn't been the highest caliber but this week that changes. An epic game against the Saints on Monday night will give us a true glimpse of what the nation's football experts think of the Falcons.
|ESPN Consensus||Falcons||Ron Jaworski doesn't pick the Monday Night game but six of the other experts like the Falcons vs. only three who predict a Saints victory.|
|Yahoo Sports Consensus||Falcons||Les Carpenter hasn't made his picks yet but the Falcons still hold a 2-1 advantage among the Yahoo! experts.|
|CBS Sports Consensus||Falcons||Wow, an impressive five-for-five sweep for the Falcons from the boys at CBS Sports.|
|Fanhouse||Saints||Dave Goldberg: The Falcons clinch the NFC South and home field with a win. If the Saints win, they clinch a playoff berth. Saints 24, Falcons 23.|
|What If Sports||Saints||The Falcons lost over 60 percent of the simulations and the Saints are projected to win 23-19.|
|Sports Illustrated||Falcons||Peter King: Falcons 27, Saints 20. Love this game. I see it being a keepaway job by the Falcons, for a couple of reasons. Atlanta, in the first meeting of the teams this season (Falcons, 27-24, on Sept. 27) ran for 202 yards. And last week in Baltimore, the Ravens strafed New Orleans for 208 rushing yards. In other words, if you've got Michael Turner and Jason Snelling in your fantasy league playoffs this weekend, be very happy.|
|USA Today||Falcons||Six of the eight experts like the Falcons to clinch the NFC South and homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs this week with a win over the Saints.|
|Sporting News||Falcons||Only one expert likes the Saints chances leaving six experts predicting a Falcons sweep over the Saints in 2010.|
|Blogging the Boys Consensus||Saints||Five of the eight panelists predict a Saints victory with only three liking the Falcons chances.|
As expected, this game is much more in doubt than the past three have been. The Falcons have been on a incredible run and could still clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs even if they lose this game. It's not a must-win for them in the standings but it is from a psychological standpoint. The Falcons don't want to lose to the Saints at home and then have to face them again in two weeks in the NFC Championship game. For that reason, it's a must-win.
At first glance, the Atlanta Falcons' injury report may seem disturbing. Our two best defenders and best offensive player all missing practice during Saints Week may cause an increase in Alka-Seltzer purchases. Alas, John Abraham, Curtis Lofton and Roddy White were simply held out to rest their weary bones and should all be fine for Monday night's game of the century against New Orleans.
Jonathan Babineaux, Ovie Mughelli and Eric Weems were all limited in practice but there's not giant red flags as of yet so I expect them to play. Which brings me to my point. The Falcons (knock on wood) have avoided the catastrophic injuries that can doom a season for a contending team. This is virtually the same team from 2009, save for Dunta Robinson and a half season of Sean Weatherspoon, that went 9-7. The key difference has been their health. Here's hoping their luck holds out for another month.
The full report, courtesy of the Falcons' official site:
DE John Abraham (groin)
LB Curtis Lofton (knee)
WR Roddy White (knee)
TE David Thomas (knee)
DT Sedrick Ellis (wrist)
T Charles Brown (back)
DT Jonathan Babineaux (shoulder)
RB Ovie Mughelli (shoulder)
WR Eric Weems (knee)
DL Anthony Hargrove (knee)
DT Remi Ayodele (ankle)
RB Chris Ivory (hamstring)
WR Robert Meacham (toe)
Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White has apologized for a certain tweet about the city of New Orleans he send out during his Wednesday trash-talking spree. Yesterday White tweeted: “The grace of god gave them tht championship so tht city wouldn fall apart now and now they think they hot shit,” which some New Orleans Saints fans took as a Katrina reference, rather than a reference to the storybook season itself.
White’s apology, as delivered to the AJ-C’s D. Orlando Ledbetter:
I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to offend anybody about that stuff, especially the city of New Orleans. Some people just take things out of context. I just felt like that’s not what I was aiming for, to say anything about the city. They are the defending world champs.
White also said he doesn’t expect to be punished by the team, nor does he expect his remarks to provoke the Saints to hit him any harder than they were already going to.
The Atlanta Falcons are about to play one of the biggest games in their franchise history on Dec. 27. Monday Night Football against the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints with the NFC South title and homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs on the line. Too. Much. Excitement. If the Falcons are going to beat the Saints, Roddy White will need to be his smiling, touchdown-catching self.
Since White joined the Atlanta Falcons as the 27th overall pick in 2005 NFL Draft out of UAB, he's proven he can play this game we call football. Evidence? I'm glad you asked. His 13 catches against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 this season set a career-high and was the third-most in Falcons history. His 210-yard performance last season against the San Francisco 49ers was a personal-best though he challenged his own record with a 201-yard receiving day against the Cincinnati Bengals this season. Let's not forget he's had five games with at least two touchdown catches since 2008. That's tied for fourth-best in the NFL.
How about the Saints? White has more yards (724) and touchdowns (6) against the Saints - and third-most receptions (41) - then he has against any other team. He has three 100-yard games against the Fleur-de-lis but has done better IN New Orleans than he has at the Georgia Dome. In six road games, White has averaged 4.7 receptions for 76.8 yards and scored three touchdowns. At home, he's averaged only 2.6 catches and 52.6 yards but has scored three touchdowns in five games. Overall, his numbers are not wholly impressive (3.7 rec., 65.8 yards per game) against the Saints but he'll have an opportunity to fix that and according to his Twitter feed, he's fired up to do just that.
Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White's Twitter shots have already established him as public E-enemy No. 1 in Orleans Parish. DE John Abraham is joining in now -- though he hasn't attracted attention from Saints players yet, he's still getting into with their fans. No other players seem all that interested, with business as usual all around: Tony Gonzalez movin' product, Brent Grimes Twitpic'ing his meals, Sean Weatherspoon exclaiming (!!), and so forth.
But Abe ain't playing:
Ok f*ck talk shit fans I'm not even that type of guy but I tell my kids don't take sh*t so y shud yall let's ride I'm with yall 100 We DaTless than a minute ago via ÜberTwitterJohn Abraham(Mr.100)
After that, he spent a few minutes retweeting things being sent to him from both sides of the earnest debate. John Abraham, rivalry moderator.
RT @BreezyHaniSuk: Lmao he's pissed! RT @saints_fans: @johnabraham55 you mad...WhoDat #fucktheFalcons/ jus hope ur avi a fake picless than a minute ago via ÜberTwitterJohn Abraham(Mr.100)
I've been saying for months how funny Abraham is on Twitter. Though I still don't know what to make of all the #shotsfired over the past day between players and fans -- if the Birds get a win, then great! Keep it up! -- Abe is worth following if you're a fan of Atlanta sports. And follow his sister, too, who's not as entertained by all this as some Falcons fans may be:
Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White just managed to turn this week's Monday Night Football game into a must-win for both the Falcons and the New Orleans Saints. Covering the Falcons this year has been a rewarding but profoundly boring experience, as all the team has done is win without major injuries, scandals, or drama of any sort. All that's behind us now.
Arguably the team's best player, White tweeted about the Saints, "The grace of god gave them tht championship so tht city wouldn fall apart now and now they think they hot shit." White has gotten into Twitter spats before, but usually with Chad Ochocinco. Never the entire gulf coast region. That's a new one, at least. Here was the tweet that started it all, and then the entire story:
Let's back up. Tuesday, ESPN troll (so dubbed with the highest respect, because he is very good at stirring up football fans) Trent Dilfer said the Falcons are beatable at home, that the Saints will prove it on Monday night, and that the Saints could prove it again in the playoffs. A fair enough sentiment, and not at all impossible. White responded with the above tweet Tuesday night, leading Saints fans to tear into him on Twitter.
Soon, Saints players got involved. DE Will Smith returned fire first, late Tuesday:
That tweet features a photo of Smith's Super Bowl ring. Reggie Bush retweeted it, and several other Saints players expressed approval. CB Tracy Porter called out Falcons fans, just as White had Saints fans:
White appeared to dial it back down around noon Wednesday:
But then took it about nine levels further:
Welcome to the pre-game, quick hit, stats-apalooza. This is a broad, statistical overview of the current Atlanta Falcons' opponent. This week, it's the New Orleans Saints. The Saints will fly 429 miles Northeast to play the Falcons at the Georgia Dome. This game is the first time the Falcons will play a home game since Nov. 28, a span of 30 days. The Falcons have already clinched a playoff berth but would win the NFC South and secure homefield advantage throughout the playoffs with a win. So, yes, this is what you'd call a big game.
The Saints could earn a playoff berth with a win but could also get in if they lose as long as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lose to the Seattle Seahawks. For the Falcons, they could still clinch homefield advantage even with a loss. With a two-game lead in the NFC, a win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 17 guarantees the NFC playoffs go through Atlanta. In the meantime though, let's learn a little bit about our guests.
The Falcons are a similar path the Saints were. In 2008, the Saints struggled to an 8-8 record before going 13-3 the next season and winning the Super Bowl. Last season, the Falcons struggled to a 9-7 record and are on their way to a 14-2 campaign this year. A five-game improvement and a Super Bowl title? Here's hoping the similarities continue.
The Saints have 11 active players over 30 years of age with 35-year old Darren Sharper the elder of the bunch. The Falcons have 12 players older than 30, with Tony Gonzalez leading the way with 13 years in the league.
SERIES HISTORY:This will be the sixth meeting between the Falcons and Saints in the Mike Smith era. The last time these two teams met was in Week 3 when the Falcons escaped with a 27-24 overtime win. With the Saints virtually locked in to the No. 5 seed, there is a high probability that the Saints and Falcons will be playing again in three more weeks in the conference semi-finals.
Falcons Vs. Saints
This will be the 83rd meeting between the Falcons and Saints. The Falcons lead the all-time series 46-37 but are 2-3 since Mike Smith took over.
The Falcons record against the Saints (by decade):
Average Score since 2008:
Average Yards since 2008:
Most Points Scored:
Falcons 44, Dec. 30, 2007
Highlight: Chris Redman throws four touchdowns and the Falcons score 24 in the fourth quarter to win 44-41 at the Georgia Dome.
Saints 41, Dec. 30, 2007
Fewest Points Scored:
Falcons, 10, Dec. 3, 2000
Saints 15, Dec. 15, 1991
The Saints' Sean Payton is 52-31 as a head coach and is 8-6 lifetime against the Falcons as part of the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys and Saints. He is 2-2 in Week 16 games all-time.
Best Individual Performances Against the Saints:
Best Career Numbers Against the Saints:
Our Odds Shark odds bros show everything going sideways for the Monday Night Football matchup between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons started the week favored -2, a meager number indeed for a 12-2 home team.
But now it’s either gone up or down, depending on where you look. 5Dimes.com has it down to -1, or a veritable pick ’em, while bodog.com has bumped it up to -3, or almost a proper home field advantage.
This is the week’s only game on our board that features lines moving in different directions, and about the only one I can remember seeing this late in a season. Nobody really knows what to make of either of these teams, but especially the Falcons, who tend to play the world’s most boring football for 55 minutes before pulling a win out of the air.
Over/under has ticked up a point, from 47.5 to 48.5. It was already one of the highest of the week, but now it’s the highest.
According to our odds bros at Odds Shark, the Atlanta Falcons are only favored -2 against the New Orleans Saints. Even though the game is being played in Atlanta, the Falcons have the better record, New Orleans has already lost to Atlanta in the Superdome, Atlanta won convincingly last week (yesterday), and the Saints lost last week (yesterday).
Standard home-team bump is three points, and with Matt Ryan’s absurd 18-1 home record Atlanta’s is probably more like four. This means New Orleans could be favored by as much as -6 if the game were being played in New Orleans, which is an even bigger spread than week three, when the Super Bowl champion Saints were favored over the 1-1 Falcons by -4.5.
The Saints are every bit as talented as the Falcons, and with a few breaks for either side their records could be inverted. But let’s not play like the Saints haven’t caught their share of lucky bounces over the past two years.
Still, New Orleans has much more to lose here, having not clinched a playoff spot and needing a win to keep Atlanta from clinching home field. If the Falcons can win in New Orleans, then the Saints could win in Atlanta.
Few things would satisfy the modern Atlanta Falcons fan more than locking up home field advantage while putting a late-season win on the New Orleans Saints. This game remains the South's best (I'd say only) pro sports rivalry, and after decades of being the two crabs at the bottom of the boiling bucket, these teams are now the class of the NFC. Did you ever think you'd see a game between the Falcons and Saints for the inside track to the Super Bowl?
Stakes are higher for the Saints than for the Birds, as Atlanta holds the tiebreaker and a two-game edge. The Falcons could lose and still wind up with home field, provided they beat the Carolina Panthers the following week. But still. This game is going to be massive, with the cheapest tickets in the Georgia Dome already going for hundreds of dollars online as our Southwestern neighbors prepare to truck in for the long weekend.
The Falcons have their goals set as high as any other NFL team, but there's no way any Atlanta player is looking past this game. Much, much more to come throughout Hate Week II.
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