Login

Register | Forgot Your Password? | Close
Register | Forgot Your Password? | Close
Bonneville Phoenix Network
 KTAR News
 Arizona Sports
Login or Register
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) stands on the sideline after being taken out of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the fourth quarter on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

(AP) - What a juicy matchup the NFL scheduled for Thursday night, a showdown for the lead in the NFC South and maybe for the best record in the conference.

Then the Atlanta Falcons didn't do their part.

Instead, the prime-time meeting between long-time rivals has lost much of its luster. Atlanta (2-8) is the biggest disappointment in the entire NFL, going from nearly making the Super Bowl to contending for the top overall draft choice.

It's been a rough year for the Falcons, who have been ravaged by injuries and plagued by sloppiness (minus-11 turnover margin).

"It's certainly not fun when you're not in the mix," Matt Ryan said. "That's part of this league. There are times when it can be humbling. You've got to keep your head down and keep going. I think you learn from everything, the good and the bad, and sometimes you learn more from the bad than the good. I think everybody is trying to learn from it, apply it to themselves and find ways to get better, find ways to use it as motivation."

The Saints (8-2) don't need much more motivation than this: If they can win out, they will get the home field throughout the NFC playoffs because they will have beaten the Seahawks (10-1), the only team ahead of them in the conference. They meet Dec. 2.

That's huge: No one wants to go to Seattle or to New Orleans in the playoffs.

"You always want to be at home," Drew Brees said, "especially in those games."

New Orleans (No. 4 in the AP Pro32) is a 9-point favorite at Atlanta (No. 31, AP Pro32). The Falcons have almost hit rock bottom. When the archrival Saints rout them in prime time, that will be as low as they can get.

SAINTS, 33-17

No. 15 Dallas (plus 2 1/2) at No. 16 New York Giants

Giants win fifth straight, increase the angst in Cowboys fans.

BEST BET: GIANTS, 30-23

No. 7 Indianapolis (plus 2) at No. 13 Arizona

Bruce Arians was 2012 Coach of the Year as Colts interim. He's doing just as good a job in the desert. Still ...

UPSET SPECIAL, COLTS 21-20

No. 2 Denver (minus 2 1/2) at No. 6 New England

Tom Terrific tends to get the better of Peyton in Foxborough matchups. Not this time with that banged-up defense.

BRONCOS, 33-28

No. 8 San Francisco (minus 5) at No. 27 Washington, Monday night

If Niners have any designs on getting back to big game, they need to start now.

49ERS, 20-16

No. 18 New York Jets (plus 3 1/2) at No. 19 Baltimore

If Ravens have any designs on ... well, you know.

RAVENS, 17-15

No. 5 Carolina (minus 4) at No. 17 Miami

Panthers must show some staying power after big win over Patriots.

PANTHERS, 23-20

No. 22 San Diego (plus 5) at No. 3 Kansas City

Now that the pesky perfection questions have ended ...

CHIEFS, 17-13

No. 11 Chicago (plus 1) at No. 21 St. Louis

Like Bears' backup more than Rams' backup at QB.

BEARS, 24-17

No. 28 Tampa Bay (plus 9) at No. 10 Detroit

Lions better be serious about Bucs, even with Thanksgiving date with Packers ahead.

LIONS, 30-20

No. 30 Minnesota (plus 4 1/2) at No. 14 Green Bay

Packers will be serious about Vikes before the holiday matchup in Motor City.

PACKERS, 20-13

No. 20 Pittsburgh (plus 2) at No. 22 Cleveland

Not buying into either of these teams right now.

BROWNS, 22-17

No. 32 Jacksonville (plus 10) at No. 29 Houston

Never have bought into either of these teams.

TEXANS, 23-14

No. 26 Tennessee (plus 1 1/2) at No. 25 Oakland

A couple of inconsistent teams, but Matt McGloin is a nice story

RAIDERS, 20-17

___

2013 RECORD: Against spread: 3-10-2 (66-84-6). Straight up: 8-7 (96-66).

Best Bet: 4-7 against spread, 10-1 straight up.

Upset special: 3-8 against spread, 1-10 straight up.

___

AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
share this story:
Attention ArizonaSports.com Comment Users: We have recently changed our comments boards.
We would like you to be part of the conversation with all fans of Arizona sports teams by logging in with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing Arizona Sports (KTAR) account members will need to create a Disqus account or use one of the aforementioned social media logins. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
close

Share: