New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (+10, 53)
The New Orleans Saints are riding high after another comeback victory, and they hope to continue that momentum as they travel to Atlanta to face the struggling Falcons on Thursday. The Saints booted three fourth-quarter field goals to edge San Francisco 23-20 on Sunday and maintain their NFC South lead. They might not need a late rally against the Falcons - the Saints have won five of the last six meetings and 12 of the last 15, including a 23-17 home victory in Week 1.
The Falcons have lost four straight for the first time since 2007 - also the last time they finished with a losing record - but coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff received a vote of confidence from owner Arthur Blank after Sunday's 41-28 loss to Tampa Bay. "It's a tough business. We've had a lot of injuries, and issues on top of the injuries," Blank told reporters. "These guys are proven leaders and proven by success. … They'll do the work that has to be done with my full support." A win over the Saints would go a long way in backing up that faith, but that's a long shot against a New Orleans team that ranks in the top five in the NFL in total yards and scoring on both sides of the ball.TV:
8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network.LINE:
The line opened with the Falcons +7 home dogs and are now +10. The total has been steady at 53.WEATHER:
COVERS POWER RANKINGS:
New Orleans (-6.0) + Atlanta (+5.5) + home field (-3.0) = New Orleans -8.5
ABOUT THE SAINTS (8-2, 6-4 ATS):
New Orleans might be the most complete team in the league with Drew Brees directing the potent pass-heavy attack and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's revamped unit continuing to play well. Injuries are mounting on the defensive side, though, with cornerback Jabari Greer suffering a gruesome knee injury Sunday and rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro still questionable after missing the past two games. The Saints are far more susceptible on the road, where they've lost to New England and the New York Jets and survived close contests at Tampa Bay and Chicago.ABOUT THE FALCONS (2-8, 2-8 ATS):
Atlanta's defense was shredded by a rookie quarterback and a running back making his first NFL start versus Tampa Bay, so the Falcons might be in big trouble against Brees and the Saints' high-powered attack. The offense has been far too one-dimensional, ranking 31st at 73.1 rushing yards per game, which doesn't bode well against the Saints' third-ranked pass defense. Atlanta's defense is getting closer to full strength with linebacker Sean Weatherspoon back, but the unit continues to struggle and has allowed more than 400 total yards in two straight games.TRENDS:
* Under is 4-0 in the last four meetings in Atlanta.
* Home team is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings.
* Saints are 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings.
* Falcons are 0-4 ATS in their last four overall.EXTRA POINTS:
1. Brees (49,288) needs 38 passing yards to move past Warren Moon for fifth in NFL history. John Elway is fourth at 51,475.
2. Atlanta QB Matt Ryan's 14 interceptions match his career high set in 2009 and tied last season, and his 89.2 rating is his lowest since an 80.9 mark in 2009.
3. The Falcons are the only team since 2009 to hold Brees without a touchdown pass, as he threw five interceptions without a TD in a 23-13 loss at Atlanta last season.