Falcons need to rebound quickly

The Associated Press

One of the NFL’s better rivalries has plenty riding on its latest installment.

Saints-Falcons tonight also is one of the better midweek matchups on this year’s schedule.

New Orleans leads the NFC South at 9-3, one game in front of Carolina, which the Saints have swept, and two games in front of Atlanta, which gets two shots in three weeks at the Big Easy’s team. Considering that the Saints are 3-0 in the division, they truly are in charge in the division.

“We have to turn the page fast to get to New Orleans,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “We’re right back into our division. It’s all there for us, we know that.”

New Orleans, No. 6 in the AP Pro32, is a 1-point choice over No. 11 Atlanta. The Falcons badly need this one, but they’ve struggled in their spanking new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

âThis is a team and itás just built differently and is very explosive outside and weáre going to have to be on point,ã Saints coach Sean Payton said.

Atlanta’s playoff chances take another hit. Saints, 28-24

KNOCKOUT LEAGUE TIP

Before discussing that, how about some kudos for Pro Picks hitting the exact scores on wins by the Steelers and Rams?

The Chargers came through last week, and this one is a bit of a stretch given who we have left. Let’s try CINCINNATI.

No. 1 New England (-11) at No. 24 Miami, Monday night: Patriots don’t have Gronk, which makes this a tiny bit closer. Best bet: Patriots, 33-10

No. 7 Seattle (+3) at No. 9 Jacksonville: Russell Wilson is making pitch for MVP award. Upset special: Seahawks 24, Jaguars 23

No. 12 Baltimore (+7) at No. 4 Pittsburgh: Another test Steelers will barely pass. Steelers, 17-13

No. 3 Philadelphia (+21/2) at No. 5 Los Angeles Rams: After loss in Seattle, Philly phans getting antsy. Calm down. Eagles, 27-24

No. 2 Minnesota (-3) at No. 8 Carolina: Vikings’ win here establishes them as NFC’s best. Sorry … Panthers, 20-16

No. 15 Oakland (+4) at No. 14 Kansas City: AFC West mess starts getting settled. Chiefs, 22-20

No. 21 Washington (+6) at No. 13 Los Angeles Chargers: Chargers do their part in AFC West. Chargers, 30-20

No. 18 Green Bay (-31/2) at No. 32 Cleveland: Oddsmakers tempting us with this line. We’ll bite. Packers, 23-11

No. 27 San Francisco (+3) at No. 25 Houston: Niners fans getting geeked by Garoppolo. But we like Houston here. Texans, 20-13

No. 20 New York Jets (Pick-em) at No. 30 Denver: This line shows how far Broncos have fallen, even at home. Jets, 27-19

No. 10 Tennessee (-3) at No. 23 Arizona: Tennessee’s AFC South competition, Jacksonville, slipped here. Titans won’t. Titans, 21-20

No. 16 (tie) Dallas (-5) at No. 31 New York Giants: Bye-bye Ben factor makes us think this will be close. Cowboys, 23-20

No. 29 Chicago (+6) at No. 22 Cincinnati: Actually thought about this as Best Bet. Bengals, 26-13

No. 16 (tie) Detroit (Off) at No. 26 Tampa Bay: Loser here might soon start coaching search. Bucs, 17-16

No. 28 Indianapolis (Off) at No. 19 Buffalo: Bills’ lengthy playoff drought about to continue, though they survive this one. Bills, 13-10

2017 record: Last week: Against spread (8-7-1). Straight up (11-5). Season Totals: Against spread (91-88-6). Straight up: (121-70). Best Bet: 8-5 against spread, 9-4 straight up. Upset special: 8-5 against spread, 8-5 straight up

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