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Katz: I'm actually surprised to see the Saints as road favorites. I didn't expect the full -3 for Atlanta, but I thought this type of line would swing Atlanta's way. I expect the public to be all over the Saints. Are the Saints about to lose two straight?
Savage: It looks like it's swinging back toward Atlanta now. I guess this comes down to.... do you downgrade Atlanta at all for last week's performance? For me, that Vikings/Falcons game didn't change my opinion of either team. It was a strange game - only 17 total possessions, longest play was a 30 yard run by Murray, and no turnovers. It was the type of game where you needed to convert on 3rd down and in the red zone because there were limited opportunities. The Vikings mostly converted those plays and the Falcons didn't because the Vikings are the superior team on both sides of the ball. Still, the Falcons were a play or 2 away from stealing a win and their defense continued to play very well, as RC pointed out in the recap.
So if nothing really changed from last week, why are the Falcons only favored by 1.5 after being favored by 3 last week? I don't think it's because the Saints are better than the Vikings. The Vikings have a much better defense than the Saints and their offenses are closer than people realize. I think its because the Falcons put up an ugly single-digit number on the scoreboard, so Vegas knew the public would line up to bet against them. Atlanta should be able to score TD's instead of FG's tonight, especially if Lattimore isn't moving that well. Falcons are my pick.
Katz: I've wavered back and forth on this game. I think the Saints are one of the three best teams in the NFC and I don't quite have Atlanta there. I admit Atlanta is better that I gave them credit for (I still struggle to wash the stink of them blowing a 17-0 halftime lead to Jay Cutler out of my mouth). I also agree that Atlanta has an underrated defense, but the Saints still have a better defense and I'll take Drew Brees over Matt Ryan. The whole "they won't lose two straight" narrative plays in Atlanta's favor, but I'm choosing not to fall for it this week. I like New Orleans.
RC: I’m with Savage…the MIN-ATL didn’t change my opinion, in fact in enhanced my pro-ATL views. The played toe-to-toe with maybe the best team in the NFC. Shutdown Thielen-Diggs despite missing 1-2 corners.
This is going to sound stupid, but I believe it…I think the public is all worked up on the Saints like they were with the Chiefs for 12 weeks, 6 weeks too long. Because they’re all in love because of Kareem Hunt being so exciting. The public is betting game, liking teams based on QBs and RBs. O-Line and defensive injuries…BORING. There is an Alvin Kamara lovefest, so now the Saints are the greatest. In reality, these teams have identical numbers in key areas this season…except the Falcons have a big advantage in 3rd-down conversions.
I think you could boil this down to very similar good teams playing, but one is the HOME team on TNF…which is meaningful. I kinda love the Falcons here + points.
Katz: Based on the recent line movement and our discussion as well as the thoughts of a couple friends, I am switching to the Falcons!
Rabbitt: I hear lots about how good that falcons defense is, but I think I get a much better defense taking the saints here.