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Pick against the spread for Saints vs. Falcons in Week 12 of 2023 NFL season

Henry Palattella gives their pick against the spread for Saints vs. Falcons in Week 12.

Desmond Ridder of the Atlanta Falcons directs his team during the first half in the game against the New Orleans Saints at Caesars Superdome on December 18, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints will add another chapter to their longstanding rivalry this weekend with a battle that has huge ramifications in the NFC South. The Saints (5-5) sit at the top of the division, but have the Falcons (4-6) nipping right on their heels. Sunday’s matchup is set for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

The Saints are 1.5-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the total is set at 41.5.

Saints vs. Falcons, Week 12: Pick against the spread

The Saints received both good and bad news, as quarterback Derek Carr cleared concussion protocol, while wide receiver Michael Thomas was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. The Saints, who are coming off a bye week, lost to the Vikings their last time out but picked up back-to-back wins over the Colts and Bears in the weeks prior. They have one of the best passing defenses in the NFL (1,991 yards allowed), but are a middle-of-the-pack team on offense. Carr threw for just 110 yards in the Saints’ loss to the Vikings before getting concussed, while Alvin Kamara rushed for just 42 yards — his second straight game with a rushing total under 50 yards.

The story around the Falcons begins and ends with the quarterback position, as the team announced that they’re going back to Desmond Ridder as their starting quarterback after starting Taylor Heinicke for two games and a half. Ridder has thrown for 1,740 yards, 6 touchdowns, and six interceptions this season. He’s also committed six fumbles this season, four of which came in the last game and a half he played in. There was a point in the season where the team’s Ridder-led offense was putting up 350 yards per game, but that hasn’t been the case lately. Their defense has also struggled, as they’ve given up 84 points over their last three games.

The Pick: Saints -1.5

Neither of these teams is perfect, but I like the Saints as road favorites. Carr was playing better prior to his injury, while the Falcons defense has been spinning its wheels over the past couple of weeks. Thomas’ injury will sting — as could the potential absence of corner Marshon Lattimore (high ankle sprain) — but the Saints have enough talent to make up for those injuries.