The New Orleans Saints (9-2) will head to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Thanksgiving night to play the Atlanta Falcons (3-8). These two teams last met Week 10, with the Falcons scoring one of the biggest upsets of the season, beating the Saints in New Orleans, 26-9.
The Saints and Falcons also played each other last year on Thanksgiving, with New Orleans winning that one, 31-17. So who has the edge this time around? Here’s a breakdown of the game followed by trends and our prediction.
New Orleans can clinch the NFC South with a win in this game, which could provide some extra motivation. The Saints are putting up 24.7 points a game, and the Falcons are giving up 27 points and 266 yards passing per game, so Drew Brees and Michael Thomas could have an excellent Turkey Day.
New Orleans will have to be more disciplined in this game than they were last week in their 34-31 win against the Carolina Panthers, however. The Saints had 12 penalties for well over 100 yards in that game, and they and were helped immensely by Carolina kicker Joey Sly missing three field goals. They were also aided by kicker Wil Lutz, who drilled the game-winner.
The Saints have been solid on defense this season. Led by Cam Jordan, they have given up an average of 20.9 points and just over 321 yards a game, and they should give Matt Ryan and Company fits all game.
Matt Ryan has 2,934 yards passing and 18 touchdowns so far this season, but he’s coming off his worst statistical game this year. Ryan had a season-low completion percentage of 50% against the Buccaneers last week, and he didn’t throw a touchdown while committing two turnovers. He’ll be facing a tough Saints defensive unit that’s fourth in the league in rushing yards allowed per game, with 88.5, so he will be tasked with airing it out–which he should be able to do.
Ryan and the Falcons have the league’s third-best passing attack. Led by Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, the Falcons are putting up 298.5 yards a game through the air, and the Saints defense is allowing over 230 yards passing per game. Atlanta should get their chances against this secondary, and it will be key to capitalize on them.
One note of potential importance: both star running back Devonta Freeman and starting tight end Austin Hooper are dealing with injuries and are questionable for the game.
Trends, Pick and Prediction:
Spread: Falcons +7
Over/Under: 49 points
Odds Shark currently have the Saints winning by a projected score of 27-20, with the Saints covering the spread and the total score going under 49 points.
Some relevant trends surrounding the game courtesy of Odds Shark:
• The Saints are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games.
• New Orleans is 8-1 SU in their last 9 games.
• The Saints are 6-3 ATS in their last 9 games against Atlanta.
• New Orleans is 6-1 SU in their last 7 games on the road.
• The Falcons are 6-13 ATS in their last 19 games.
• The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Atlanta’s last 5 games.
• Atlanta is 2-7 SU in their last 9 games.
• The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Atlanta’s last 5 games against New Orleans.
We’re with Odds Shark on this one. The Saints should win handily, especially after their embarrassing loss just a few weeks ago. Look for New Orleans to win and cover the spread, with the total score just under 49 points.
Final Prediction: Saints 31 Falcons 17