*Each week, AtlantaFalcons.com contributing writer Daniel Cox examines the NFL experts and their Falcons picks and compiles it all to see who believes the most in the Atlanta Falcons. Six pundits remain tied for the best record at 12-2. *
Let's rewind the clock, shall we?
It was Week 3 and the Falcons' 12-2 season was just getting started.
Of the 11 pundits on the panel at the time, three picked the Falcons to defeat the New Orleans Saints on the road in the Superdome.
The lucky three were Chris Mortensen, Ron Jaworski and (shockingly) Adam Schefter.
The first two pundits stuck with the Falcons for much of the season, riding them to records that put them in the top half of the standings. Schefter began to pick teams like the Browns to defeat the Falcons along the way.
This week, the pickings are much more evenly divided between the Falcons and the Saints. Because Jaworski will be part of the Monday night broadcast team, he will not pick the game. Schefter has continued to go against the Falcons, this week picking the Saints. Mortensen is sticking with Atlanta for yet another week.
In the interesting move-of-the-week category ProFootballTalk.com's Gregg Rosenthal, who has been as on fire picking the Falcons, is going with the Saints. His PFT counterpart Mike Florio is going against the Falcons as well, but that's no surprise — it's the second week in a row he does so.
One Falcons fan attempted to set the two straight and his comments need to be shared. Fittingly, the fan did so under the name "touchdownroddywhite":
"The Falcons are 19-3 at the Georgia Dome under head coach Mike Smith, and Matt Ryan is 19-1 in the building as a starter. With a division championship, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs at the finish line, I can't see the Falcons falling short vs. the hated Saints on Monday night." - Peter Schrager, FoxSports.com's Week 16 Picks * "This is an underrated rivalry, even in down years. Atlanta should win the division regardless of what happens Monday, but they'd love to clinch homefield a week earlier. The Saints would love to avoid heading into their season finale needing a win to get in the playoffs. Don't be surprised if these teams meet again in the playoffs. That one will be the rubber match after the Saints get a signature win in the Georgia Dome." - Gregg Rosenthal, ProFootballTalk.com's Week 16 picks * "Love this game. I see it being a keepaway job by the Falcons, for a couple of reasons. Atlanta, in the first meeting of the teams this season (Falcons, 27-24, on Sept. 27) ran for 202 yards. And last week in Baltimore, the Ravens strafed New Orleans for 208 rushing yards. In other words, if you've got Michael Turner and Jason Snelling in your fantasy league playoffs this weekend, be very happy." - Peter King, SI.com's Weekend Pickoff * "How many statement games must one team play? Well, here's one more. Falcons win." -Jeff Schultz, AJC Blog