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The final week of the 2023 NFL Season is here and it is the last chance for teams to make a last impression for the AFC or the NFC Playoffs. There are still divisions to be won and wild card spots to be claimed. Many of these have already been eliminated from postseason play but may want to go out on top. As teams and players are going to perform at their highest level, now is a great time to make some bets and pick the best opportunities to win some earnings through DraftKings.
The Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints compete one last time this season and to attempt to get either the NFC South divisional title or the final NFC wild card. Both teams need significant help to get to the playoffs, but it is not impossible. In order for the Saints or the Falcons to win the division, the Carolina Panthers will need to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home. There will also need to be a series of teams including the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks to lose for either of these teams to get into the playoffs as a wild card. Outside of the playoff race, the Saints and Falcons are looking to make their mark in this rivalry game as both teams have had fairly disappointing seasons.
The Atlanta Falcons started this season with two wins over the Carolina Panthers and the Green Bay Packers at home. Since then before the bye week, the Falcons had only won two of their eight games as they faced more competent opponents. After coming off the bye, the Falcons were able to defeat the Saints at home with a 24-15 score and the New York Jets on the road with a 13-8 score. They have only won one game in the last four weeks.
Much like the Falcons, the Saints had a two-game winning streak to start the season followed by an incredibly disappointing set of performances going into the bye week. After starting with an overall record of 2-0, the Saints were only able to win three of the next four games. New Orleans came off the bye with two straight losses including the road loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Unlike Atlanta however, New Orleans has won three of the last four games including last week's upset with the 23-13 score despite a poor offensive production.
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|New Orleans Saints
The first year with Derrick Carter quarterback from New Orleans Saints has been mostly disappointing as he's been primarily inconsistent and shown the inability to lead this Saints’ dynamic offense. He has had some solid performances within the past few weeks including the when at the Tempe Buccaneers and in the loss at the Los Angeles Rams.
One of his more disappointing games was when he threw for 304 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception and the 24-15 road loss to the Atlanta Falcons on November 26. This is a game that the Saints are going to try and make up for and create a last desperate push for the postseason.
Carr has had seven games this season where he has thrown for at least two touchdowns in a game. This game is a chance for Carr to make a last-chance effort to lead his team to the postseason against the ninth-ranked scoring defense in the Falcons.
The New Orleans Saints are going to be imploring several different office schemes to try and find the vantage point against the Falcons. This means that several key players for the Falcons are going to be factors such as safety Jesse Bates and linebacker Kaden Ellis.
Through 16 games this season, Ellis has accounted for 119 total tackles with 80 of them being solo tackles. He has had 13 games this season where he has accumulated more than five total tackles.
He can for six total tackles including four solo tackles in the win over the Saints in late November. Ellis is a crucial part of the Falcons' ninth-ranked scoring defense (20.3 points allowed per game) and the 11th-ranked total defense (316.5 total yards allowed per game).
It is no secret that the Atlanta Falcons have underutilized former first-round pick in tight end Kyle Pitts. In 16 games this season, Pitts has caught 50 more receptions for 640 yards and three touchdowns he has only accounted for three games where he caught over 100 yards and his three years in the NFL.
His production value has been consistently poor due to the lack of targets he's been given. With the exception of last week's 37-13 loss at the Chicago Bears, Pitts has accounted for 35 receiving yards in four games for the Falcons.
The last time the Falcons played the Saints, Pitts was only targeted twice as he caught two receptions for 22 yards. For Atlanta to defeat the Saints, they will need a more versatile offense, which includes Pitts being a valuable asset to the passing game.
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What: Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints
Where: Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
When: Sunday, January 7, 12:00 PM E.T.
How to Watch: CBS, NFL Network, YouTube TV
Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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