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Thursday Night Football: Saints at Falcons

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5, 56)

The Atlanta Falcons look to avenge their only loss of the season Thursday when they kick off Week 13 with a rematch with the NFC South-rival New Orleans Saints at the Georgia Dome.

Atlanta opened the season with eight straight victories before running into a hot New Orleans team that posted a 31-27 triumph at home on Nov. 11. Tight end Jimmy Graham caught seven passes for a career-high 146 yards and two touchdowns and Jabari Greer broke up a pass in the end zone on fourth-and-goal late in the fourth quarter to preserve the Saints' fourth win in five games.

Atlanta has squeaked out a pair of wins since the loss to New Orleans, posting a four-point triumph over Arizona before edging the Buccaneers 24-23 in Tampa Bay on Sunday. Seven of the Falcons' 10 victories have been by seven points or less. After opening the campaign with four consecutive setbacks, the Saints got back in playoff contention by winning five of their next six contests. But their postseason hopes took a hit Sunday as they fell to NFC West-leading San Francisco at home, 31-21.

TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network.

LINE: The Falcons opened as 3.5-point favorites and have dropped to -3 at some markets. The 56 points total ties the highest total of the season and has dropped to 55.5 at some books.

ABOUT THE SAINTS (5-6, 6-5 ATS):
New Orleans would have vaulted into sixth place - and a wild card spot - in the NFC with a win over San Francisco. Instead, it sits in 11th and faces two more division leaders over the next two weeks. Quarterback Drew Brees extended his NFL-record streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass to 54 with three scoring tosses but also had two passes intercepted and returned for TDs. He now has 31 touchdown strikes this year, making him just the third QB in league history to reach the 30-TD plateau in five or more seasons. Brees joins Brett Favre (nine) and Peyton Manning (six) in that category. Brees (2008-12) and Favre (1994-98) are the only two to do it in five consecutive campaigns. Wide receiver Marques Colston notched a franchise-record 56th touchdown of his career Sunday. He had been tied with Deuce McAllister atop the franchise list.

ABOUT THE FALCONS (10-1, 6-4-1 ATS): Sunday's margin of victory could have been larger had Matt Bryant not struggled. The kicker missed a 22-yard field-goal attempt as time expired in the first half and failed to convert a 48-yarder with eight seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. It was the second time in four games Bryant has missed a pair of attempts. Wide receiver Julio Jones showed no signs of injury against Tampa Bay, catching six passes for 147 yards - including an 80-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. Jones had been limited in practice last week due to a sore right ankle. Quarterback Matt Ryan has now led five game-winning drives in the fourth quarter this season and 21 during his five-year career. Running back Michael Turner capped the latest one Sunday, scoring on a 3-yard run with 7:55 remaining.

TRENDS:

* Saints are 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings.
* Over is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings.
* Underdog is 6-1 ATS in their last seven meetings.

EXTRA POINTS:

1. The Saints have won four straight and 11 of the last 13 meetings between the division rivals.

2. Graham and Atlanta's Tony Gonzalez became the first pair of tight ends to have at least 120 yards receiving and two TDs in the same game.

3. Gonzalez caught a pair of scoring passes in the first meeting, the first making him the first tight end in NFL history with 100 touchdown receptions.

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Posted by warcameagle56
1 year ago

Love the Over...Is this game critical to Atlanta?not really but if they are a Championship team they will avenge their only loss to Nola...Atl 35 NO 24...No Payton...No Playoffs..
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Posted by SportsPredictor
1 year ago

New Orleans Saints plus 3.5 points vs. Atlanta Falcons! Saints put up a MAJOR battle to make sure they stay in the playoff chase! And might win game outright! Atlanta only 1-3 vs. point spread last four games!
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Posted by raynbird
1 year ago

well then don't pick the falcons
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Posted by RedStick
1 year ago

Falcon -3 @ home ...... its all about defense or there lack of!
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Top Response

Posted by RedStick
1 year ago

"Falcon -3 @ home ...... its all about defense or there lack of!"