The Falcons appeared to regain their high-flying groove while averaging almost 32 points during a three-game winning streak.
But Atlanta (7-5) crash-landed in Sunday’s 14-9 home loss to the Vikings and now faces a virtual must-win situation against the Saints (9-3) in an NFC South clash on “Thursday Night Football” at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The line has bounced back and forth all week. The Falcons opened as 1-point favorites before sharp action on the Saints made New Orleans a 1½-point favorite. Money has since poured in on Atlanta, which was a 2½-point favorite as of Thursday afternoon at Las Vegas sports books.
“I was a little surprised New Orleans stayed the favorite for so long,” Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito said. “It doesn’t surprise me at all now that Atlanta’s the favorite. It’s a much bigger game to Atlanta right now.”
The total is at 52 after opening at 54½.
“I was actually a little surprised at that, with these two offenses and weather conditions not an issue,” Esposito said. “It’s a different New Orleans team. Look at how many weeks Drew Brees has had one or no touchdown passes. They really rely on running the ball and their defense. They win differently.”
Rookie star running back Alvin Kamara, a former Mr. Georgia in high school, averages 8.4 yards per touch and has scored in six straight games.
New Orleans also might get rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore back to help defend Julio Jones, who was held to two catches by Minnesota a week after he went off for 253 receiving yards on 12 receptions.
The Saints have held opponents to 17.8 ppg while winning nine of their past 10 games.
New Orleans is on a 12-2 ATS run against the NFC South and is on a 13-3 ATS run on the road. The underdog is 13-3 ATS in the past 16 meetings.
“I’m guessing we’ll be Saints fans,” Esposito said.