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NFC South Week 14: Saints Hope to Stay Alive

The Falcons locked up the NFC South division title last week, but they tighten the screws on the number one seed and home field throughout the NFC playoffs if they can pull out a victory this week against Carolina. The Buccaneers, on the other hand, will look to stay in the wild card hunt, while the Saints simply try to keep their playoff hopes alive. Here’s a look at each of the three match-ups in the NFC South this week.

New Orleans Saints 5-7 at New York Giants 7-5

The Giants will attempt to reestablish dominance in their division, while the Saints just need to survive. At 5-7, the Saints are in must-win mode for the rest of the season and even that may not be enough. After reviving their seemingly lost season, the Saints have lost games in the last two weeks, as quarterback and leader Drew Brees has made uncharacteristically poor decisions. They’ll need to be pretty much perfect this week in order to beat a determined Giants squad, which is looking at their remaining schedule the same way New Orleans is.

“I am looking at it one game at a time, knowing full well it’s a four-game season and we have to win really every one of our games,” New York coach Tom Coughlin said via ESPN.com. “That’s how I look at it. It’s going to be win the games that are presented, the one that is right in front of you.”

Both teams are averaging 26.8 points per game, but the Giants defense has been much stronger over the course of the season, as they are giving up seven fewer points per game. Even in New Orleans limits its turnovers, I don’t see them being able to stop New York enough to win the game. Take the Giants to cover -5 points at home.

Atlanta Falcons 11-1 at Carolina Panthers 3-9

The Falcons are running toward a possible NFC title

The Falcons are currently riding a three-game winning streak overall and a five-game streak against the Panthers, who don’t have much to play for now, other than pride. The Falcons will still be playing hard, looking to come closer to securing home field throughout the postseason, which would be extremely important for them, considering they are undefeated at home.

“We’ve won the division before, so it’s not that big of a deal,” wideout Roddy White said. “When coach said, ‘Congratulations,’ nobody was woo-wooing or nothing like that, which is good.”

The Falcons shouldn’t have too much trouble with the Panthers, which are scoring fewer than 20 points per game and are just 1-5 at home this season. Meanwhile, the high-powered Atlanta offense should also find scoring opportunities. Take Atlanta to cover -4 points on the road this week.

Philadelphia Eagles 3-9 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-6

Tampa can't afford a loss to one of the NFL's worst teams

The Buccaneers enter this week a game behind Seattle for the second wild card spot, but they have a good chance to pick up a win and at least keep pace, as they take on the a team that’s playing like they could win the first pick in the draft in the Eagles, which have lost eight in a row.

The Bucs have relied on the running game all season long, but have been held under 100 rushing yards in each of their last two losses. They should have better success this week though, against the Eagles, which allow nearly 120 yards on the ground per game.

However, expect the Eagles to play tough. They put up quite a fight in last week’s 38-33 loss to Dallas, actually leading much of that game. And with a new starter, Nick Foles, under center looking to prove himself and possibly win the job for next year, I like the Eagles to keep this one close in the loss. Take Philly to cover +9 in defeat.


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