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Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints MNF Pick

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
Nov/02/2009

Carrie Stroup here with a free pick on the Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints MNF game. 

NFL: Can Falcons fly out with a win?

The New Orleans Saints remain the only unbeaten team left in the NFC and will put that perfect record on the line on ESPN's Monday Night Football against the Atlanta Falcons.

Scoring nearly 40 points per game, they have quickly become the bettors' darlings, and are backed by almost 90% of Sportsbook.com's players at last check on 10-point line. Can the Falcons hand New Orleans its first loss? If not, how about its first pointspread defeat?  The line has since moved to -12 at Sportsbook.com. 

The Saints and Falcons have long played a competitive & entertaining head-to-head series. In fact, dating back to '92, underdogs own an 8-9 SU & 13-4 ATS edge. Atlanta needs that trend to continue to stay in the hunt for the NFC South title as it tries to chase down unbeaten New Orleans.

The Falcons are 4-2 after losing at Dallas looking to snap a four-game SU & ATS losing streak in divisional road games. This will be their fourth road contest in L5 weeks. The unbeaten Saints are back at home where they've won eight of their L9 games ATS. Strangely, this will be their first divisional contest of '09, and they are 3-5-1 ATS when hosting NFC South rivals under Sean Payton. In the L9 meetings between these two clubs in New Orleans, six have gone UNDER the total.

It'll be feast or famine for Monday Night Football in November, and ESPN couldn't have gotten a better matchup to start with the Falcons visiting the Saints in a key NFC South tilt. Atlanta comes off a 37-21 loss in Dallas, while New Orleans rallied from 21 points down for a 46-34 win in Miami.

Easy would be an accurate way to describe how the Saints offense has marched down the field, be it through the air with Drew Brees or via the ground with Pierre Thomas, Mike Bell and Reggie Bush. It has put up 45 points or more in four games, including 48 against both the Eagles and New York Giants.

No defense seems to have what it takes to slow down Brees & Co. The Falcons had some success slowing down the Saints a year ago as these teams split their season series with each winning at home. Atlanta allowed 422 yards passing and two touchdowns but also picked off a trio of Brees passes in a 34-20 win at the Georgia Dome in Week 10. A month later, New Orleans won 29-25 at home with Brees throwing for a pair of scores with no turnovers.

After the first two weeks this year, Brees gave every reason to believe he'd challenge single-season passing records for yards and touchdowns. He came out of the gate with a 358-yard, six-touchdown performance against Detroit in the opener, setting a league record for scoring tosses in Week 1 in the process. He then lit up Philadelphia for 311 yards and three touchdowns, giving him 669 yards and nine touchdowns.

In the next two weeks, the Saints showed why they're so dangerous with the ball. Brees didn't throw a touchdown pass or crack 200 yards in Buffalo or at home against the New York Jets, but that's when the running game and defense stepped up. Thomas had 126 yards and two touchdowns and Bush 64 yards against the Bills, and Thomas came back with 86 yards and a score against the Jets.

Either the Falcons have to figure out a way to keep the Saints from lighting up the scoreboard or they'll be forced to try to outscore them. Atlanta's defense brings a solid resume to the Superdome. The unit held three of the first six opponents to 14 points or fewer but had a weak effort against the Cowboys.

PREDICTION

It's not all about offense for the Saints, who scored a pair of defensive touchdowns in the second half last week against the Dolphins. With the spotlight shining bright, so will an offense that seems close to unstoppable. Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints MNF Pick is

NEW ORLEANS 38, ATLANTA 24 

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