The Atlanta Falcons are, according to the sportsbook NFL odds, two-point favorites against the New Orleans Saints, and that slight edge may have to do with cornerback Desmond Trufant being cleared from concussion protocol and expected to return to the starting lineup on TNF. Trufant, who leads Atlanta with two interceptions, and who has two fumble recoveries, one of which he returned for a touchdown, missed the Falcons’ 9-14 loss to the Vikings on Sunday, and will be crucial when the Birds go up against a QB who is not just a ‘game manager’ (no offense, Case Keenum).
Desmond Trufant WILL PLAY vs the Saints on Thursday.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) December 4, 2017
- Date: Thursday, 7th December
- Time: 8:30 PM
- Venue: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
- Sportsbook NFL Betting Spread:
Saints -2 (-111) 53 (-110)
Falcons +2 (-109) 53 (-110)
Falcons living down to expectations
When the Falcons went on another three-game winning streak which mimicked their 3-0 start of the season, self-proclaimed ‘insiders and analysts’ all but guaranteed that Atlanta would be one half of the NFL Superbowl line. Guess again, pal. The Falcons, mind you, are by no means out of the championship picture, but perhaps sportsball pundits will now, you know, have a more realistic assessment of the situation. For example, that the Vikings aren’t the Cowboys/Seahawks/Buccaneers, and neither are the Saints, for that matter (but more on that later). Mistakes are officially luxuries that Atlanta cannot afford. Moreover, it isn’t just about not screwing up; it’s about going above and beyond the call of duty. The Vikes held Matt Ryan to just 173 yards passing, his lowest production since 2013, and limited Julio Jones to 24 yards a week after gaining 253 receiving yards. The Falcons are 6-1 ATS in their last seven Thursday games, 6-2 ATS in their last eight in Week 14, 5-2 ATS in their last seven in December, and 5-2 against the sportsbook NFL odds spread in their last seven games playing NFC South teams.
Saints and Winners
The Saints have not fallen into temptation but they did fall to the LA Rams on Nov. 26th. However, they fell back into grace with a 31-21 win over the Panthers on Sunday, their ninth win in the last 10 games, by virtue of which they find themselves, like fellow saint Symeon the Stylite, towering all alone over everyone else, at least in the NFC South. Not unsurprisingly, the WaPo declares New Orleans to be the crème de la crème in that selfsame division. The Saints, however, know that they are far from perfect. “There are still things that I feel like we are leaving out there,” quarterback Drew Brees said, possibly referring to tight end Josh Hill’s fumble in the second quarter, or Wil Lutz’s missed 38-yard field goal in the third. “There are opportunities we are leaving out there. If we want to accomplish and go where we want to go, we’ve got to continue to improve upon and get better at those things.” New Orleans is 7-1 SU in their last 8 games against NFC teams, 3-1 ATS in their last four against the Falcons, and 11-2-1 against the sportsbook NFL odds spread in their last 14 playing divisional foes.