NFL Free Pick: STL/ATL

The Atlanta Falcons have already secured a spot in the playoffs, but their seeding is still up in the air. A win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday could help clinch the NFC South Division and the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

Who will we give the nod to in our NFL Free Pick for this game?

Our team of writers and handicappers break down the matchup and hand out a Free NFL Pick for Week 17.

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Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Falcons -14 point spread favorite. The over/under for this game has been set at 44 total points.

Key Trend: The Rams are just 2-6 against the spread in their last eight games while the Falcons are 6-2 against the number in their last eight games at home. The total has also gone over in seven of St. Louis’s last eight games when playing on the road against Atlanta.

Key Stat: The Falcons are averaging 24 points per game and only allowing 19.9 PPG. The Rams meanwhile, are averaging just 13.7 points per game, while allowing 28.9 PPG. Atlanta is also averaging 145.4 rushing yards per game, while the Rams are surrendering a whopping 147.1 YPG on the ground.

Game Outlook: Even though the Falcons have already clinched a playoff spot, they still have a lot to play for. A win over the Rams on Sunday coupled with a Panthers loss to the Saints in New Orleans and the Falcons will win the NFC South Division. That would also mean that Atlanta gains the No. 2 seed in the NFC. Even if Carolina beats New Orleans, the Falcons would still need to beat the Rams in order to clinch the No. 5 seed in the NFC, which might provide an easier matchup than if they were to lose and possibly fall to the No. 6 seed. The Falcons won’t lose this game and while laying 14 points is tough to swallow, St. Louis has nothing to play for and is just looking for the season to end. Atlanta has been near unbeatable at home this year and should run all over the Rams with Michael Turner. The Falcons defense has been playing better of late, although they have some nagging injuries mounting to key players like John Abraham that might be something to watch for. The Rams hung with the 49ers last Sunday, so the public might continue to drive the point spread down in this game. Good – wait for it to keep falling after the spread opened at Falcons –15 at the start of the week. Don’t be cautious – lay the points and take a solid Falcons team that won’t overlook a hapless Rams team. For the rest of our NFL Free Pick, see below.

Our Free NFL Pick for the Week 17 matchup between the St. Louis Rams and Atlanta Falcons is

ATLANTA FALCONS -14

TheSpread.com Projected Final Score

Atlanta Falcons 31

St. Louis Rams 14

We also predict that this game will GO OVER THE TOTAL (44 Sports Interaction.com) SET BY ODDSMAKERS

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Posted: 12/28/08 9:30AM ET

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