The New Orleans Saints face their most hated rivals in the Atlanta Falcons in their first of two meetings over the next three weeks. New Orleans’ two game advantage over Atlanta can quickly evaporate to a disadvantage if they don't take care of business starting this week. The hate is strong in this rivalry, from the players to the fan bases. From Atlanta’s cries of 7-9 to Who Dat Nation’s decree of 28-3, a relationship of mutual hatred continues to grow every season. Let’s see what this year’s chapter adds to the recipe.
Let's take a look at all of the intriguing matchups in the league this week as we enter the final stretch of the 2017 NFL season.
Last week I went 12-4
I told you so: Seahawks over Eagles!
What do I know: Browns over Chargers?
Thursday, December 7th - Thursday Night Football
Saints(9-3) at Falcons(7-5) - Game of the Week
It seems to be all hands on deck in this pivotal NFC South matchup. Andrus Peat is definitely out, which is a blow to the Saints offense, but Mark Ingram, Terron Armstead, and Marshon Lattimore look like they may take the field. That says how much Sean Payton wants this game, knowing how much it benefits the Saints lock on the NFC South title and how much pressure it takes off the second matchup coming up in two weeks.
The key to this game comes down to the Saints disrupting the Falcons backfield, which ravaged them last season. In the two Saints/Falcons games last season, the Falcons backfield had the following stat lines:
Devonta Freeman: 384 combined yards, 3 touchdowns
Tevin Coleman: 148 combined yards, 4 touchdowns
The Saints have to shore that up while giving Atlanta heavy doses of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara as retribution. It’s a Thursday Night game, so things will undoubtedly get weird. Atlanta will play desperate, and the Saints will do anything and everything to put them away. Get ready for some fireworks here, folks. It’ll be a wild, strange game and the Saints will leave Atlanta with a victory that’ll take years off of our lives. Saints win 31-30.
Sunday, December 10th - Early Games
LeSean McCoy and the Bills’ ground game will lead them to victory over Indy in the Buffalo snow. Buffalo wins 26-13.
Dallas’ defense will face little resistance from the Giants in this one. Dallas wins 23-7.
Lions(6-6) at Buccaneers(4-8)
The passing numbers will be high in this one, little else in this game is worth watching. Detroit wins 27-20.
David Carr and his receiving corps will have a big game against the depleted and defeated Chiefs defense in Kansas City. Oakland wins 26-23.
Thankfully for both of these franchises, their seasons are nearly at an end. Houston wins 27-14.
Green Bay keeps their playoff hopes alive with a win over hapless and hopeless Cleveland. Green Bay wins 24-14.
Andy Dalton wins a rare quarterback matchup where he’s the better QB. Cincinnati wins 24-17.
Minnesota’s second-ranked defense will prove too difficult for Cam Newton and the Panthers offense to overcome, even with homefield advantage. Minnesota wins 21-19.
Sunday, December 10th - Late Games
In what should prove to be a fun matchup, Philip Rivers outduels Kirk Cousins. Los Angeles wins 24-21.
Denver’s miserable campaign limps along, with a loss to the surprisingly competent Jets. Jets win 24-17.
Tennessee’s defense outshines Arizona’s defense in the desert. Tennessee wins 28-17,
Carson Wentz and the Eagles will rebound nicely with a resounding win in Los Angeles before they coast to end the season. Philly fans will undoubtedly pack the stadium, giving the Eagles a hometown feel in the stands. Los Angeles will have one of those games where its realized they’re not quite ready for the top of the NFC standings yet. Philadelphia wins 35-14.
Seattle suffers a letdown after Sunday Night’s massive win over Philly, as Jacksonville squeaks out a nail-biter at home. Jacksonville wins 21-20.
Sunday Night Football
Thanks to a monster performance by Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh picks up a season sweep over their hated rivals at home. Pittsburgh wins 24-19.
Monday, December 11th - Monday Night Football
Unsurprisingly, New England, led by a big night from Tom Brady, will get the best of Miami once again. New England wins 31-21.
There it is, Week 14 of the NFL season. The Saints have a chance to put Atlanta’s playoff hopes on the ropes, let’s hope they do. Leave us your picks, comments, and insight below!