On a conference call on Tuesday, Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith said he liked the “familiarity” of his opponent.
“It’s a lot easier than playing a non-division opponent,” Smith said. “Ideally you would want to be playing a division opponent simply because of the preparations and being that we played them a couple of weeks ago. It makes it easier for everyone involved. You certainly don’t want to be playing on a short week against a team you only see once every four years.”
Week 13 opens in the National Football League with what should be an outstanding Thursday Nighter. Two teams that hate each other have taken different roads to this matchup. The New Orleans Saints are 5-6 and can’t lose again. One more loss and they’re probably out of the Wild Card hunt. The Falcons, meanwhile, are 10-1, one of the best teams in the NFL and they’ve even developed a running game with the addition of former Oregon State Jacquizz Rodgers to complement Michael Turner.
“We were very transparent back in March when we started our off-season program and said our offense was going to be very different than what it was in the first four years (that Smith coached in Atlanta),” Smith said. “The makeup has changed in terms of the players that we had. We said we would not look up and see one player have 300 carries like have had in the previous four years. We feel like Jacquizz is a very viable option to carry the football and has done a nice job for us. It has become more of the vogue thing to do, to have a running back by committee.”
With the Runnin’ Falcons taking on Drew Brees and the Saints’ air force, it should be one of the best Thursday Nighters of the season.
Last week the Doc went 9-7 straight up (113-63) and 9-7 against the spread (86-90) while The Coach went 9-7 straight up (113-63) and 7-9 against the spread (84-92).
As always, The Doc writes the definitive rationalization of our brilliant selections while The Coach heaps scorn on everything and everyone.
Let’s take a close look at the Thursday Nighter:
New Orleans Saints (5-6) at Atlanta Falcons (10-1) Line: Falcons by 3.5
A good Thursday Nighter kicks off Week 13 in Atlanta. The Saints come in having beaten the Falcons the last four times they’ve met, and have won 11 out of the last 13, and more importantly have won the last three times in the Georgia Dome. New Orleans is playing for its playoff life, and I think they come up big on the road. The Coach says: “You have a 10-1 team playing at home against a 5-6 team coming off a loss at home the week before. I’ll take the 10-1 home team every time.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE SAINTS IN AN UPSET.
THE COACH: TAKE ATLANTA TO WIN AND COVER.