Ron Glover’s Thursday Night NFL Pick: New Orleans Saints (5-6) vs. Atlanta Falcons (10-1): Will the Falcons send the Saints marching home with an L?
(Michael DeMocker/The Times-Picayune)
If Julio Jones can get the Saints tripping over one another, its gonna be a long night for the visitors.
Two weeks ago, the New Orleans Saints welcomed the Atlanta Falcons into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and defeated the NFC South leaders 31-27, their first loss of the season.
Tonight, the Falcons are looking to one-up the Saints in tonight’s contest. The Saints have rallied from a miserable start to make a late season push into the playoffs. Atlanta is well aware that if they can knock off the Saints tonight, their division foe is one step closer to elimination.
A huge part of the Saints success in the first meeting was their ability to stifle the Falcons running game. The Falcons were held to 46 yards on the ground. The Saints much-maligned defense found a way to hold the Falcons high-powered offense to six red zone points and even produced a turnover on downs late in the game.
Everyone knows the Falcons are tough at home. Expect the Dirty Birds to pound running back Michael Turner into the gut of the Saints defense. When Turner needs a breather, the Falcons will go to speedster Jaquizz Rodgers to finish the Saints off.
Drew Brees continues to play like a man possessed, but he cannot do it alone. For the rest of the season he will have to keep the team focused on the goal of making the playoffs while playing in spite of a suspect defense.
One onus the Saints can draw on is the Falcons have no respect for them. Some Falcons players have gone as far as to say they gave the Week 10 contest to their division rivals.
The ultimate disrespect may have come last night when the Saints team bus was tuned into the world’s largest omelette by some fans of the opposition as it left the airport. The Saints have to withstand the early pressure Matt Ryan will look to orchestrate with the fans to stay in this game. If not, they’ll be heading home with egg on their faces.
Prediction: Falcons 31 – Saints 21