Both teams have everything still left to play for in the NFC South as the New Orleans Saints host the Atlanta Falcons in Week 16. Kickoff is set for 1:00 EST on Sunday, December 24 at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Fans can watch the game on Fox.
Oddsmakers list the Saints as 5.5-point favorites at home. The over/under is set at 52.5 points. Click here for a full list of the Week 16 betting odds and links to more game previews.
Falcons vs Saints Vegas Odds Preview
The Falcons enter this game slightly more desperate for a win. Atlanta is holding steady in the second wild-card spot at 9-5. But they have three 8-6 teams hot on their trail waiting for them to slip up. The Falcons are also a game behind both the Saints and Panthers at the top of the division. If Atlanta has any chance of winning the NFC South, they have to win both of their remaining games, starting with this week in New Orleans.
Meanwhile, the 9-5 Saints can clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Falcons. They’ll also clinch the NFC South if they win and Carolina loses. Unfortunately for the Saints, they’ve struggled to find consistency in recent weeks. After winning eight games in a row, New Orleans has lost two of their last four games, including a loss to the Falcons in Week 14.
In that Week 14 game, the Falcons overcame a 4th quarter deficit and three interceptions by Matt Ryan to beat the Saints 20-17. Atlanta has now won three games in a row against the Saints, including a trip to New Orleans last season.
Free Point Spread Pick & Predictions: Saints -5.5
The Falcons definitely have more momentum than the Saints heading into this game. Atlanta has won five of their last six games, including that Thursday night win over the Saints. But I’m still a little skeptical of the Falcons. At this point in the season, I have more confidence in the Saints, so I’ll lean toward New Orleans to cover the spread.
The Saints have won their last six home games by an average margin of 11 points. In fact, New Orleans won only one of those games by fewer than eight points. That gives me plenty of confidence that the Saints are going to play much better than they did when they lost to the Falcons two weeks ago.
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Injuries also figure to play a significant role in this game. Alvin Kamara looked poised for a big game against the Falcons two weeks ago before he was knocked out with a concussion. He returned last week and recorded a season-high in touches with 18. I expect the Saints to utilize him as much as possible this week, and I expect he’ll give Atlanta’s defense a headache as vengeance for the concussion.
The Falcons are also dealing with a couple injuries that could hinder them in a significant way. Julio Jones is being hampered by both ankle and thumb injuries. He was limited to just three catches last week against the Bucs, so it remains to be seen whether he can be a difference maker for the Falcons this week. Tevin Coleman also remains in concussion protocol after missing last week’s game. He’s questionable for this week, and Atlanta will definitely miss his versatility if he can’t play.
Meanwhile, I continue to be skeptical about Ryan. He’s had three straight weeks of subpar performances. To be fair, the Falcons have won two of those games. However, he should have been a lot better against a mediocre Tampa Bay defense last week. The Falcons beat New Orleans a couple weeks ago despite him. But that result will be tough to replicate on the road if Ryan continues to struggle.
Considering the injuries, Ryan’s disappointing play in recent weeks, and the Saints excelling at home this year, I have a lot of confidence that New Orleans will win this game convincingly. It’s also pertinent to add that the Falcons are playing back-to-back road games during a short week. I’d be surprised if the Saints didn’t win this game and lock up a playoff spot.