Greg Cote’s Thursday NFL pick

SAINTS (5-6) at FALCONS (10-1)

Line: ATL by 4

Cote’s pick: ATL 34-31

TV: 8:20 p.m. Thursday, NFL Network

NFC South rivalry kicks off Week 13 with home-flying Falcons the only NFC team that can clinch a playoff spot this week – with a win here plus a Seattle loss. (Atlanta sews up division title with a win if Tampa Bay also loses). Saints have owned this series with four straight wins and 11 of 13 in the Drew Brees era, including a 31-27 decision Nov. 11. Saints also have won past three at Georgia Dome, each by a scant three points. Nevertheless, liking Atlanta to reverse that trend here, though barely. Saddle up Matt Ryan’s 30-1 career record when he tops a 100 passer rating, given the continuing generosity of Cajuns’ pass D.

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