http://lwosonnfl.ms.lastwordonsports.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/12/630777426.jpg

Today is December 5th, and the cold has finally arrived here in New Orleans. Amazingly enough, the New Orleans Saints have yet to play the Atlanta Falcons. Who Dat Nation always salivates for the week leading up to the first game against their hated rival.

Although that is true, the Atlanta hate week is only a short three day period this time around. The game will be featured on Thursday Night Football in front of a national audience. First, the Falcons get to play the Saints in their new stadium, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Ironically, that’s the same sponsor for the Superdome. Not sure how that happened.)

History and What’s at Stake

Regardless, the Saints best be ready. After the battle with Atlanta, the Saints get 10 days off to prepare for the New York Jets on December 17th. Then, on Christmas Eve the Dirty Birds play in New Orleans for a nice Christmas snack. The NFL look to be the geniuses here, by having the two top teams fighting it out in the last few weeks of the December playoff rush.

However, the Carolina Panthers are in the mix as well, but the Atlanta Falcons at this point, look to be the bigger threat. The Saints have already beaten Carolina twice and hold the tiebreaker there. On the other hand, only two games separate the Falcons and Saints. And tomorrow is going to be the first meeting. The wait has been long. Atlanta is still in the running for the NFC South title. The Falcons would likely have to sweep the series.

The last time the Saints faced Atlanta was on New Years Day in 2017. The Falcons won that game 38-32 in Atlanta. No doubt, there is a pretty good chance this game tomorrow will come down to the fourth quarter.

The last four games in Atlanta were decided by a total of 16 points. Also, in those four games, the teams have battled to a series split at 2-2. As a result, look for another nail biter.

The Atlanta Falcons come in playing their best football all year. In the last month, the Falcons have beaten the Seattle Seahawks, the Dallas Cowboys, and last week nearly beat the Minnesota Vikings. Winning three of their last four, the Falcons are coming on strong and determined.

Focused on Thursday

By the same token, the Saints are as hot as any team. The Saints are coming off a huge win against the Carolina Panthers 31-21. The Saints looked dominant with the “Crash and Dash” running game that includes running backs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. Also, the Saints have won 8 of 9 games, with their only loss coming against the Los Angeles Rams.

Ultimately, the game is gonna come down to a few key plays down the stretch. Red zone defense is gonna be critical. If the Saints can limit the Falcons to field goals, a win should be coming for the Black and Gold. The Falcons are gonna have to find a way to slow down the rushing attack of the Saints. Kamara came into the year as a relative unknown; now he’s up for Rookie of the Year. Look for the Falcons to have an eye on him at all times.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 38 – New Orleans Saints 35

Main Image:

Embed from Getty Images


View the original article on Last Word On Pro Football: New Orleans Saints December Featuring the Dirty Birds