Just a few short weeks ago, Matt Ryan and his Falcons took their showdown to New Orleans where they beat the heavily favored Saints. This week, they get to try and do it again, on their own turf, Thanksgiving Night. While the Falcons playoff hopes have been dashed to bits, nothing would satisfy Falcons players, and fans alike, than stopping the division rival Saints from having home-field advantage in the post season.
These two teams have a history of slugfests, so even with the Falcons somewhat erratic play, I expect nothing less tonight. They head into the matchup with star wideout Julio Jones questionable with a shoulder injury. The Saints will be missing starting offensive linemen Terron Armstead and Andrus Peat, fortunately, the Falcons aren’t exactly gang busters at the pass rush or run stop. The Saints are favored by -7, with the O/U set at 48.5, the highest spread and total of all the Thanksgiving Day games.
Same Old Story
It’s the same story, a different season for Sean Peyton and his Saints. They sit atop the NFC South, the offense is clicking on all cylinders, and the defense has been a force in 2019. Drew Brees and star wideout Michael Thomas’ chemistry is undeniable, and they may be the best pitch and catch duo in the league. Thomas has tallied 1242 yards to go along with his 6 touchdowns on the season.
The Saints defense has been quite a difference-maker this season. They rank 10th in the league in yards allowed while ranking 9th in first downs given up to opponents. They specialize in passing defense, which bodes well going up against Matt Ryan and the Falcons. Cam Jordan leads the team with 9.5 sacks, while Demario Davis and Vonn Bell lead the squad in tackles.
The Season Sweep
Can the Falcons pull off a season sweep of their division rival? Atlanta absolutely put it on the Saints just three weeks ago, the final score being 26-9. While Brees was able to throw for nearly 300 yards, he was unable to find the end zone, and the Falcons shut Alvin Kamara and the running game down, a feat they will need to replicate to have any hope of another victory.
While the Falcons defense has ranked near the bottom of the league all season, Matt Ryan has led a very Ryanesque offense. They rank 10th in total yards, and 3rd in both first downs and passing yards. Wide receiver Julio Jones may still be the best receiver in the league, and his status for the game is questionable. Jones said he is hopeful that he can play through the shoulder injury.
High Scoring Affair
Look for this Thursday night battle to be one with little defense being played. These two offenses are fairly high powered and it nearly always seems to be a battle between the two. Atlanta is only 4-7 ATS this season, while the Saints are 7-4 ATS. The Saints are also 4-1 on the road against the line, and look to improve tonight. The pick is for the Saints to get some revenge tonight, and widen their lead in the division. New Orleans wins and covers the spread in a high scoring contest.