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Final score predictions for Saints vs. Falcons in Week 18

We’re days away from kickoff in Week 18 of the New Orleans Saints 2023 season, with the longtime division-rival Atlanta Falcons standing between New Orleans and any hope of reaching the playoffs.

Can the Saints get the job done? They’ll need a lot of help to qualify for the postseason, but it all starts with a win on Sunday afternoon. Here are our staff picks and final score predictions for what may be the last game of the year:

Saints 24, Falcons 21

Dec 18, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/26652" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Cordarrelle Patterson;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Cordarrelle Patterson</a> (84) leaps over guard <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/31846" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Chris Lindstrom;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Chris Lindstrom</a> (63) against New Orleans Saints defensive end <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/24811" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Cameron Jordan;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Cameron Jordan</a> (94) during the first half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints have a recent habit of finding themselves in positions where they need other teams to do the work for them to either get a higher seed or make the playoffs. In essentially all of those scenarios, the Saints do their part, but the other team they need to win does not. I believe that trend continues here, as the Saints will pull off a tight win due to the slight resurgence we have seen from Derek Carr in recent weeks, but Carolina loses out to Tampa Bay to hold the Saints out of the playoffs. — Jeremy Trottier

Saints 24, Falcons 14

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – DECEMBER 18: <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/27559" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Bradley Roby;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Bradley Roby</a> #21 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates after recovering a fumble during the fourth quarter in the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Caesars Superdome on December 18, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

This was a difficult pick. New Orleans has struggled to show consistency or show up when needed. This week requires both, but my gut says the Saints will win. The Falcons don’t have a strong offense and New Orleans will have to focus on stopping the run. If they can do that, Atlanta’s offense will be limited. The Saints will make enough offensive plays in a must win game to keep their playoff hopes alive. — Darrion Gray

Saints 28, Falcons 13

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – DECEMBER 18: <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/33732" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Caleb Huntley;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Caleb Huntley</a> #42 of the Atlanta Falcons is tackled by Cameron Jordan #94 of the New Orleans Saints during the first half at Caesars Superdome on December 18, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The Saints will do their part and they’ll do it convincingly. It’s clear that this team decided to buy in just too late. The problem is that they need so much help to make the playoffs that winning this game will likely feel like a lost victory. The Falcons could also technically still win the division with a win, but I don’t think that they’re a better team than the Saints at this point of the season. — Dylan Sanders

Saints 23, Falcons 17

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – DECEMBER 18: <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/34030" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Desmond Ridder;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Desmond Ridder</a> #4 of the Atlanta Falcons avoids a tackle from <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/32076" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Kaden Elliss;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Kaden Elliss</a> #55 of the New Orleans Saints during the first half at Caesars Superdome on December 18, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

These teams are more evenly matched than either fan base would like to admit, but they both have a lot to play for. The Saints are hoping for a long-shot playoff berth. The Falcons are hoping to spoil their hopes. It’s going to be dramatic and probably sloppy. But the Saints have done a better job using the talent on their roster, and they should pull off a win. — John Sigler

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire