New Orleans moved to 9-2 on the season with a 34-31 victory over fellow divisional rivals in the Carolina Panthers. The ageless Drew Brees made it back to back games with 3 TD passes and is combination with Michael Thomas continues to be a defensive nightmare. While the Saints were surprised by the improved Falcons just a few weeks ago, they should be well prepared this time around as they look to seal up the NFC South division.
After impressive defensive showings against the Panthers (29-3) and Saints (26-9), the Falcons early-season woes returned as they went down to the Bucs 35-22. To be fair, Injuries have hit this Falcons unit hard, especially on offence and it won't make this clash with New Orleans any easier. Top WR Julio Jones hurt his shoulder last week, starting TE Austin Hooper has missed a few games and starting RB Devonta Freeman has a knee issue. But if the Falcons can keep Matt Ryan upright, he should continue to look for Calvin Ridley in the passing game.
This is kind of like the Falcons Super Bowl in what has been a disappointing season and we're expecting the Falcons D to put up a better showing. They kept the Saints to 3 field goals a few weeks ago and hopefully, they can stop Brees and the Saints offence again. Looking at past results in Atlanta, the Under is 7-3 and 6-0 when the Falcons face a team with a winning away record (Saints 4-1 on the road).
The 10-1 Patriots continue to struggle offensively through an injury crisis but their defence is delivering when it counts. The Pats head to Houston on the back of a 13-9 win over the Cowboys and will be hoping their offence can find a spark. Injuries have hit the WR corps hard with Sanu and Dorsett both missing last game. So they need to find a running game soon behind Sony Michel. On defence, the form of top CB Steph Gilmore is the major key in this game as he looks to shadow DeAndre Hopkins all game, especially after Amari Cooper went without a reception last week.
Houston is back atop the AFC South after a crucial 20-17 victory over the Colts last Friday. Which was an improved effort after the 41-7 defeat against the red-hot Ravens. Defensively, they'll look to continue the Patriots struggles by getting pressure on Tom Brady in the passing game. While on offence, Watson will likely find it tough to combine with Hopkins in the passing game so he'll look to move the chains with the running game and limit his mistakes with the football in hand.
Historically, the Patriots have owned the Texans with a 10-1 SU record in NFL History and Bill Belichick always loves to get a win against his former assistant (Bill O'Brien). However, we have to like the Under since the Patriots offence is struggling to score points at the moment. While for the Texans, the Under has saluted in 8 of their last 9 home games and we doubt they'll be able to have much success against this elite Patriots defence.
The 8-3 Vikings currently lead the NFC North division and they'll look to stay there with this crucial matchup in Seattle. To the Vikes credit, they made some second-half adjustments against the Broncos as they stormed home to win 27-23 after trailing 20-0 at the half. Kirk Cousins tossed 3 TD passes in the win as both Diggs and Rudolph caught long TD passes in the 4th quarter. Dalvin Cook had an unusually quiet game with just 11 carries and 26 yards so he'll look to get back on track against the Seahawks.
Seattle is one of the hottest teams in the NFC after 4 straight wins and they're sitting second in the NFC West. Their defence rattled the Eagles and Carson Wentz last week with the 17-9 result. Wilson had a quiet game for his standards as the Seahawks leaned on the running game. Penny dominated the Eagles D with 14 carries, 129 yards and a score. With the 49ers holding a 10-1 record, this is a must-win game for Seattle as their divisional title hopes cling by a thread.
This could be a potential playoff preview and we doubt either side will be backing down in what should be a close encounter. Both sides are scoring around 26 points per game this season. While the Vikings are 6th in the NFL for points allowed, Seattle showed last week they can bring the heat defensively and it's never easy travelling to CenturyLink Field. So we'd suggest getting on the Tri-Bet for either team winning by 7 or less as this game could be decided by a field goal.
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