Thursday Night, December 7th
New Orleans (9-3) -1.5 @ ATLANTA (7-5)
The NFL scheduling gurus finally are delivering a good Thursday night game, at least on paper. The Saints, a surprising 9-3, march into Atlanta to take on the Falcons who have grinded out a 7-5 record. This is a heated rivalry that usually produces great games. Based on the Thursday night history, who knows how this plays out though.
Last week, the Saints were without rookie CB Marshon Lattimore. That didn’t matter much against the Panthers, but versus the Falcons and Julio Jones is a much different story. Another injury to watch is Mark Ingram who is suffering from a toe issue. If Ingram cannot go, Alvin Kamara will get the bulk of the carries. Based on the way Kamara has been playing, the Saints might benefit from Ingram sitting. Kamara has been amazing this year, becoming only the 3rd rookie RB to record 600 yards rushing and 600 yards receiving in a season. He still has 4 games left! Although Kamara hails from Norcross, GA, saying his name always reminds me of King Kamala, the Ugandan Giant.
Based on the way he's running through defenders, we’re dubbing him King Kamara, the Ugandan Giant and we think he has a big game Thursday in Atlanta.
Julio Jones was held in check by the Vikings last week. We don’t think that’ll happen again this week. As mentioned earlier, if Marshon Lattimore is again out, Jones will be early and often. We expect Jones to be open so much it will be like “All the Julios” are on the field. He may not go for 250 again, but 10 catches for 150 seems like a safe bet.
The Saints will need a big play on defense to win this game. This is something they have enjoyed all season, but that luck is bound to run out. We think Matt Ryan plays his best game of the year and the Falcons hold on for a close win in a high scoring battle, so take the home dog and the points.
PICK: ATLANTA +1.5