Saints move to road favorite against Falcons for Thursday Night

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A matchup of NFC South rivals that each possess extreme betting trends has seen the line shift toward the red-hot New Orleans Saints, but the Atlanta Falcons could illustrate that what goes up always comes down in the NFL, eventually.

The New Orleans Saints and veteran quarterback Drew Brees are listed as a 1.5-point road favorite against the Atlanta Falcons with a 51.5-point total for the NFL Week 14 Thursday Night Football matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The NFC South-leading Saints are 7-1 straight-up in the last eight conference games and 3-1 against the spread in their last four games with the Falcons, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

Atlanta, which is certainly in more of a must-win situation as far as playoff hopes are concerned, is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 games at night. The Falcons, who are coming off of a loss against the Minnesota Vikings, are also 6-2 straight-up in their last eight games after a loss.

Atlanta, which opened as a two-point favorite before the line shifted to the Saints, is 5-1 SU in its last six games as a home underdog, and 7-1 ATS in its last eight when it laid points at home.

The Saints, who are 9-3 SU and 7-5 ATS, have surrounded future Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees with a much more complete team this season. The Saints were a solid road cover – 13-3 ATS in their last 16 road games – even when they were somewhat one-dimensional. If leading rusher Mark Ingram (toe) is good to go, then he and Alvin Kamara, who have helped the Saints lead the NFL at 5.0 yards per carry, should pose a threat to Atlanta’s rushing defense.

Brees had one interception in each of the Saints’ 2016 games against Atlanta. The Falcons have limited opponents to 6.5 yards per pass and their best cover CB Desmond Trufant (concussion protocol) is expected to play, so nothing will come easily for Brees’ targets such as WR Michael Thomas.

The Falcons, who are 7-5 SU and 5-7 ATS, could have a favorable matchup in the passing phase since Saints rookie CB Marshon Lattimore (ankle), in his first game back from injury, could draw most of the coverage against WR Julio Jones.

Jones was shut down last week against Minnesota, but is rarely quiet two games in a row and has 361 yards in his last three home games against the Saints. New Orleans’ pass defense is mid-pack at 7.1 yards per pass allowed, but DE Cameron Jordan is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL.

Ryan has had a quarterback rating north of 100 in each of his last six starts against the Saints, and has only one interception in that span. Atlanta is facing a vastly improved Saints defense, though. The absence of G Andy Levitre could also limit Atlanta with opening holes for RB Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.

The total has gone under in four of the Saints’ last five games on a Thursday for bettors. The total has gone over in six of the Falcons’ last eight divisional games, with one push.

Watch Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts live on TNF

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The Indianapolis Colts host the Denver Broncos on Thursday Night Football in a battle of two former contenders whose seasons have gone wrong.

Following a strong start, the Broncos went 1-8, as their typically astute defense has struggled to keep opponents out of the end zone. Denver’s offense has not helped the team’s cause either. The Broncos have failed to find clarity at quarterback with Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, and Paxton Lynch all seeing time.

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The Colts have had their own deficiencies this season without star quarterback Andrew Luck. Jacoby Brissett has provided admirable coverage under center with 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions, but he has not been able to keep up with a Colts defense that has let up the second-most points in the NFL this season.

Football Night in America

Start time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app

Broncos vs. Colts

Start time: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app

Watch Dallas Cowboys vs. Oakland Raiders live on SNF

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The Oakland Raiders host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football as both teams look to keep their playoff hopes alive.

With a win, Dallas will maintain its chances of sneaking into the playoffs as a wild card. After struggling initially, Dak Prescott has been able to adjust to life without Ezekiel Elliott. Prescott threw for three touchdowns and a season-high 332 yards in the Cowboys win last week over the New York Giants.

If the Cowboys can hang around, Elliott can give them a boost when he returns from suspension next week heading into the final stretch of the season.

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The Raiders also find themselves in need of a win as they are in the middle of a contested AFC West battle with the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. Derek Carr and the Raiders’ offense will need to improve after dropping from the league’s sixth-best offense in 2016 to 19th this season.

Football Night in America

Start time: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app

Cowboys vs. Raiders

Start time: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app