Week 13 Diagnosis: Thursday Night Football- New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons- Pregame Breakdown and Final Score Prediction

The Falcons have a prime opportunity to slam the door shut on its division with a win versus their rival from the Big Easy.  This is, of course, much easier said than done.  The Falcons have had their fair share of troubles with the Black and Gold recently, losing the last four games against them and 11 out of the last 13.  This year seemed to be different for the Falcons; they thought they finally had the firepower to stand up to the Saints but they still lost 31-27 which remains as their only blemish to this day for the 2012 season.  There is no need for discouragement though.  The Falcons actually can stand toe-to-toe with Drew Brees and his high-octane offensive attack.  They barely lost during the first go-round and they do have the #6 ranked offense in the NFL (compared to the Saints’ #8 ranking).  The Saints will score an average of 28 points per game, and the Dirty Birds are not far behind with 26.7 points per game.  The truth is, both of these teams are evenly matched on offense and can easily trade points with one another.  In a game this closely matched, the only reasonable thing to do is look for the competitive advantage that would help a team beat a divisional rival in a close game.  This is the fact that the Falcons are playing in Atlanta.  Matt Ryan simply does not lose in the dome.  He has not fallen to a team at home since Week 5 of last season against the Packers.  If there were ever a game where the Falcons could prove their legitimacy to all of their doubters, it would be at home in prime time vs. the New Orleans Saints.  Expect Atlanta to take advantage of this golden opportunity and put some nice drives together in what should be a shootout.  Look for Jacquizz Rodgers to have a breakout performance against a so-so New Orleans run defense.  Matty-ice should also have a field day against this secondary.  It is almost a guarantee that he will not throw five picks at home this time.

Atlanta 34, New Orleans 28

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