2003 Season NFL Football Past Picks
November 16, 2003
Atlanta at New Orleans
Sunday 11/16 01:00 PM Eastern
4 units on New Orleans -8.5 (-110) (risk 4 to return 7.64) RESULT: LOSS
Those of you who’ve been with me for a while know I don’t usually pick big favorites. However, I smell blowout in this game. New Orleans is a tale of two teams this year. During their first five games, their average score was 17-28. In the next four games it flipped to 26-17. They were obviously playing well before their bye week and now they bring that momentum into a game against a really bad team. And they get an extra bonus: the bye week. Byes can be helpful or hurtful, for sure, but getting an extra week of rest this late in the season should really help the Saints. The fourteen days of rest means they get defensive end and 2002 sack-leads Darren Howard back as well as starting linebacker Sedrick Hodge. WR Donte Stallworth, out the last two games, is a possibility as well. As I mentioned, the Saints entered the bye week on an up-note, winning three of their last four including a big win over Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay. You can bet they spent the bye week reinforcing the need not to collapse in the second half of the season as they did the past two years. The fact that Atlanta surprised New York last week to pull off a win will help us avoid any letdown by the Saints this week. New Orleans running back Deuce McAllister is kicking butt/taking names. He’s coming off six straight 100+ yard games and against this porous Falcons defense, he’s likely to get the 129 yards he needs to break 1000 yards in just his 10th game of the season. Teams that won the prior week as a double-digit dog (i.e. Atlanta) perform especially poor against the spread the following week in certain situations and this is one of them. The Falcons are 1-7 ATS this year while the Saints are riding a 5-1 ATS record. And let’s not let Reeve’s 200th win cloud the picture of how bad the Falcons really are: third worst in the league in offense and dead last in defense. In the first meeting between these two teams this year, the Saints cruised to a 45-17 victory on the road. They should be able to do something similar this week, off a week of rest, focused, and at home.