Greg Cote

Greg Cote’s Thursday NFL pick: Falcons over Saints

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) rushes for a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014.
Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) rushes for a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. AP

FALCONS (5-0) at SAINTS (1-4)

Line: ATL by 3.

Cote’s pick: ATL 30-24.

TV: 8:30 p.m. Thursday, CBS/NFLN (airing in South Florida).

Resourceful? Or lucky? How can you be sure about unbeaten Atlanta when they’ve trailed in the fourth quarter in four of their five wins? Tough, tough pick for me. My gut says upset by Saints (who are on a 9-3 run at home in this NFC South series), but everything else points Bird-ward. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and fantasy “it”-guy Devonta Freeman should logically feast banquet-style on what has been a really bad N’Awlins defense. (Right?) Plus, Drew Brees’ shoulder still isn’t 100 percent for the turnover-prone Saints, further imperiling coach Sean Payton’s future. I’m going with logic over gut here, then, but oh so anxiously. There is just something about this rivalry game by the Bayou that gives me the creeps. Mysticism may be in play. I mean, all it would take is one little voodoo curse from madam Marie Laveau wafting in off Lake Pontchartrain to shoot this pick all to hell.

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