Wednesday, November 9, 2011

JZN NFL Predictions vs. Spread: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (Week 10, 2011-12)

The early spread on this game is PICK EM. Here are some of the key aspects of the game and what to watch out for in pick ’em leagues. All lines from Y! Sports and injury reports from CBS Sports as of November 9, 2011. Always update yourselves with injury lines because they’ll change throughout the week. Please note that ATS means “Against the spread.”

*My* Current Personal Picks Record (Straights Picks Only)
Atlanta Falcons 6-2
New Orleans Saints 6-3

Key Injuries
T Sam Baker (Out), FB Ovie Mughelli (IR), DE Cliff Matthews, RB Mark Ingram, LB Jonathan Vilma, CB Tracy Porter

Keys to the Game
  • Can the Saints contain Tony Gonzalez and Michael Turner?
  • Can the Falcons contain a spread passing offense?
  • Can the Saints avoid turnovers on the road?
  • How much will Julio Jones’ return help in this contest?
  • The Falcons have rarely been beaten in Atlanta under Matt Ryan
  • How much will Atlanta’s run game suffer without Ovie Mughelli?
  • The injury to Jonathan Vilma will be huge when defending Michael Turner
  • How well can the Falcons’ offensive line protect Matt Ryan?
Summary
While the Saints are 4-0 ATS at home, they’re 1-4 on the road. The Falcons have been amongst the NFL’s best home teams under Matt Ryan. The Green Bay Packers and Saints are the only teams who’ve really been able to consistently dink that armor. The Saints won at Atlanta last season while the Falcons won at New Orleans.

You never really know in this divisional rivalry. This may be the most underrated rivalry in all of football, maybe even American sports.  I believe Drew Brees can give the Falcons’ secondary fits with their spread passing game. However, the Saints are surrendering 5.3 yards per rushing attempt. That’s worst in the NFL.

I just feel like the home-field advantage and Michael Turner will give the Falcons a slight edge. The Saints are also 26th in turnover differential at (-6). The Falcons are (+2). I’m going with the home team here. Keep an eye on Jonathan Vilma’s injury.

Final Predictions:
Against the Spread: Atlanta Falcons (PK ‘EM)
Straight: Atlanta Falcons 30, New Orleans Saints 27

Stat sources:

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