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Welcome to my blog which deals with mixed martial arts betting and preview with a detailed analysis on the world of MMA. This blogs covers anything relating to the UFC, Strikeforce, Dreams or any other MMA organization.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Monday Night Football: Saints/Falcons preview

Slumping Atlanta enters the final four weeks of the season facing third-and-long. The Falcons at one time were focused on securing home-field advantage throughout the postseason. That focus has now shifted to survival after three losses in their last four games.

Atlanta can hardly afford to take Monday night's home matchup with New Orleans lightly while looking ahead to road tests at Chicago and Tampa Bay. With four games remaining in the regular season, the Falcons are two games behind a division-leading Carolina team who they host in the season finale.

Atlanta would come up short of the playoffs if the season ended this week because, unlike last year, it hasn't won the close contests. The Falcons were 5-1 last season in games decided by three points or less. This season, they have lost three games by three points each, and have won just one that way.

New Orleans is hoping to avoid a series sweep after losing at the Alamodome in San Antonio during the first meeting, 34-31. Todd Petersen kicked a 36-yard field goal as time expired after gaining a reprieve. He missed from 41 yards one play earlier, but the Saints were whistled for holding.

Coach Jim Mora must hope that Michael Vick, who has been a mere mortal lately, regains his magic. The Panthers limited Vick’s scrambling and intercepted two passes in the fourth quarter. Vick's season statistics are modest at best, 158 completions in 282 attempts for 1,783 yards, 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

The Falcons' patchwork defense has really let them down. Rookie defensive end Chauncey Davis has struggled filling in for injured veteran Brady Smith. Atlanta yielded 456 yards to the Saints (211 rushing, 245 passing) in the first meeting between the teams.

New Orleans' dismal season continued last Sunday when it fell for the seventh time in eight games with a 10-3 loss to Tampa Bay in Baton Rouge. Aaron Brooks threw four interceptions, including one in the end zone on the Saints' final drive that could have tied the score.

New Orleans has won five of its past six road games versus the NFC-South and 'covered' seven straight. The Saints have won 16 of 23 when Brooks has a 100+ passer rating. He has compiled a 102.1 passer rating in four road games versus the Falcons.

The Falcons, failing to get the green in four of the last five series confrontations, have cashed six straight coming off a road loss.

Most offshore books opened Atlanta as a 10-point favorite, with the total set at 44.

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