Ivory can Tower Over Falcons

  • By: David John
  • Last Updated: November 9 2012, 16:59 GMT

Chris Ivory: Working his way back into the Saints offense

3pts Dallas to beat Philadelphia at 10/11 (William Hill).

2pts Chris Ivory to score a touchdown anytime against Atlanta at 9/4 (bet365).

Atlanta at New Orleans (1800 GMT)

The randomness of the scheduling means this NFC South clash has come at an ideal time as the Saints continue their resurgence after an awful start, while the undefeated Falcons look to go to 9-0.

The latter's wide receiver, Roddy White, has already fanned the flames against their fierecest divisional rivals with claims that a perfect 16-0 regular season is atttainable - but I am sure New Orleans will have something to say about that here as they try and get themselves back in the play-off race.

This is a stern test for the visitors' credentials anyway as the Saints hold sway in the recent history of the fixture with 10 wins out of 12 in the Sean Payton/Drew Brees era.

The currently suspended Payton has provided an unneceassry distraction to the team this week with rumours abounding that his contract could be terminated, with Dallas possible suitors.

But that aside, the comfortable success over the Eagles on Monday night was the perfect way to prepare for the short week and the re-emergence of running back Chris Ivory was one of the stories of the game.

Ivory has had to be patient this season, having found himself warming the bench as his stock dropped while sliding down the depth chart.

But an injury to Darren Sproles saw him get his chance again and a 22-yard gallop for a TD against Philadelphia showcased what he is capable of when his number is called.

Perhaps the coaching staff have been reluctant to admit that Mark Ingram has been a bust at the position, but I reckon Ivory is going to see much more of the ball now he is raring to go for this game and he looks a very decent punt at 9/4 to score a touchdown at anytime.

As for the outcome, I am tempted to leave that market alone. I think the Saints offense behind Brees will keep the points flowing but their woeful defense - ranked 32nd and last in the NFL - remains a risky proposition to rely on.

Dallas at Philadelphia (2125)

This has already been labelled the Desperation Bowl with both teams on 3-5 in the NFC East and facing an almighty struggle to get near the play-offs if they drop another game.

The talent level in both franchises suggests they should be operating at much higher levels but an uninspiring first half of the campaign has both head coaches under close scrutiny as to whether they will retain their position.

Philadelphia's biggest problem has been a woeful offensive line beset by injury. It has taken another hit this week with the loss of right tackle Todd Herremans for the rest of the season which means they have just one starter left - Evan Mathis.

The result has been quarterback Michael Vick running for his life over the first eight games and he took another seven sacks in last week's defeat against New Orleans.

Under so much pressure, he has been forced into some awful decisions with his throws, and though a stuttering offense is usually placed squarely on the quarterback's shoulders, much of this is not down to Vick.

"I just have to continue to maintain trust in them," Vick said of his O-line. Good luck with that.

The Cowboys' issues have tended to be more self-inflicted with some sloppy displays on offense and an inability to convert possession into points.

QB Tony Romo showed his frustration again last week in the narrow defeat at Atlanta with some rather negative play-calling from head coach Jason Garrett as they tried to chase down the unbeaten Falcons.

Their first two Dallas possessions in that game ended in field goals and despite a lack of a any discernible running game as DeMarco Murray battles injury, you still get the feeling that a touchdown or two would help them turn the corner.

Defensively, things have been brighter despite the long-term loss of linebacker Sean Lee with an injury. Bruce Carter was not even on the radar in terms of a starting spot in the summer but he has worked his way into the mix and showed tremendous flare now calling the plays at the position last week at the Georgia Dome.

He and sack machine DeMarcus Ware could have a big day against the Eagles patchwork offensive line and I fancy them avoid a third straight loss against Andy Reid's team at the 10/11 on offer with William Hill.

  • Preview posted at 2100 GMT on 08/11/2012.