Quarterback Derek Carr sustained a head injury in Week 10, but he has now cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol and expects to start for the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in Week 12.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr gets hit by a defender from the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. (Image: Getty)
The Saints square off against the Atlanta Falcons in a decisive NFC South matchup with a potential postseason berth at stake.
The Saints are in first place in the division with a 5-5 record. The Falcons and Tampa Bay Bucs are tied for second place with a 4-6 record.
The Falcons have lost three games in a row, and look to end their skid when they host the Saints on Sunday.
Banged-Up Carr Keeps on Ticking
Carr sustained an AC joint injury on his throwing shoulder in a loss against the Green Bay Packers in Week 3. Backup quarterback Jameis Winston replaced Carr in that game, but was unable to hold off a comeback by the Packers.
Carr was listed as week-to-week with a sprained shoulder. But he did not miss any games.
The Saints last played in Week 10 against Josh Dobbs and the Minnesota Vikings. Carr was crushed by two defenders in the third quarter and slowly made his way back to the sidelines. The Saints thought Carr aggravated his shoulder injury after the hard hit. But he was evaluated for a concussion and did not return to the game. Winston came off the bench and finished the game for a second time this season. The Vikings defeated the Saints, 27-19.
The Saints had a bye in Week 11, which provided Carr an extra week to recover. He cleared the concussion protocol on Wednesday and practiced with the team this week. The Saints removed Carr from the official injury report. Head coach Dennis Allen expects Carr to start against the Falcons.
Carr is now 5-5 as a starter during his first season with the Saints. In nine seasons with the Las Vegas Raiders, Carr went 63-79 including 6-9 last season.
In his tenth season in the NFL, Carr has a 65.9% completion rate with the Saints. He threw for 2,231 yards, 10 touchdowns, and four interceptions.
Atlanta’s QB Shuffle, Ridder Gets Second Shot
Falcons head coach Arthur Smith finally benched struggling quarterback Desmond Ridder after a subpar performance in Week 7. Smith inserted veteran backup Taylor Heinicke into the starting line up in Week 8.
The switch up did not produce any winning results, and the Falcons lost three consecutive games. Heinicke completed only 55.4% of his passes for 498 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
Even though Heinicke was 12-11-1 as a starter with the Washington Commanders, he went 0-3 with the Falcons.
Ridder returns as the starter after the Falcons’ bye week. He was 4-3 this season before his demotion.
I just took that and ran with it knowing that my opportunity was going to come again and when it did, I’d just take full advantage of it,” said Ridder.
“I feel very, very good about where he’s at,” said Smith. “He handled being benched well. It’s not an easy situation, and I think his best football is ahead of him.”
Ridder has a 65.4% completion rate this season. He passed for 1,740 yards, six touchdowns, and six interceptions. The quick-footed Ridder rushed 32 times for 150 yards, and scored four rushing touchdowns.
Ridder started the final four games at the end of last season. As a rookie in 2022, Ridder posted a 2-2 record as a starter after he replaced Marcus Mariota.
Falcons, Saints, Bucs in Tight NFC South Race
The Saints and Falcons rank among the four worst-betting teams in the NFL this season. The Falcons have an 2-8 record against the point spread (ATS), which is tied for the second-worse in the league. The Saints are 2-7-1 ATS, and they failed to beat the spread in their last three games.
The Falcons find themselves as a +1.5 home underdog in Week 12.
The Saints are +6500 odds to win the Super Bowl, and the Falcons are a long shot to win a title at +20000. The Saints are +3500 odds to win the NFC Championship, and the Falcons are +10000 odds to win the conference.
DraftKings updated their NFC South futures. The Saints are the betting favorite to win the division at -150 odds. They’re ahead of the Falcons (+290) and Bucs (+340).
According to an updated postseason projection by Upshot, the Saints have a 65% chance to make the playoffs and a 57% chance to win the NFC South. The Falcons have a 34% chance to advance to the postseason, with a 27% chance to win the division. The Bucs have a 24% chance to secure a playoff berth, and a 16% chance to win the NFC South.
The Saints are -190 odds to make the playoffs, according to a prop bet by DraftKings. You can back the Saints at +135 odds to miss the postseason. The Falcons are +200 odds to secure a postseason berth, and -250 odds to miss the playoffs.
The Saints and Falcons will meet again at the Superdome in New Orleans in the final game of the season in Week 18. The Falcons are 2-0 in NFC South play, and the Saints are 1-1 in the division.
The post New Orleans Saints Quarterback Derek Carr Clears Concussion Protocol appeared first on Casino.org.