The Atlanta Falcons will travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints in the main event on Thanksgiving night. Before the season started, this looked to be a marquee matchup on the schedule that could have been a battle for first place in the NFC South. However, these two teams have traveled down different paths en route to this game. The Saints are 9-1 and in first place in the division. The Falcons are 4-6, and this game is important for them to keep their playoff hopes realistic.
The Falcons come in having lost their last two games against the Browns and the Cowboys. In these two losses, the offense averaged only 19 points per game, after averaging over 30 in their three games before this small skid. The offense has done everything except score in their last two games. Against the Browns, Matt Ryan threw for 330 yards and two touchdowns. But that’s all they could provide as they were stifled on a goal line possession early in the fourth quarter that could’ve changed the game. Against Dallas, the story was the same. Atlanta out gained Dallas 354-323, but could not score more than one touchdown. That will have to change if they want a chance against the Saints.
New Orleans comes into this game as the hottest team in the NFL, having won 9 straight after their season-opening loss to the Buccaneers. Last week, the Saints dominated the defending Super Bowl Champion Eagles by a score of 48-7. Drew Brees did what he’s been doing all year, throwing for 363 yards to go along with 4 touchdowns. They ran the ball effectively as well, with Ingram and Kamara combing for 174 yards on just 29 carries. Tre’Quan Smith surprisingly leads the Saints in receiving 157 yards and a touchdown on 10 reception.
Falcons vs. Saints Prediction
In order for the Falcons to keep up with the Saints, they are going to have to punch the ball into the endzone and not settle for field goals. In their matchup against the Saints earlier this season, they were a perfect 5 for 5 on scoring touchdowns in the red zone and still wound up losing 43-37. This means that the defense will have to come up big and halt the juggernaut of an offense that the Saints possess. This will not be easy, as the Falcons come in allowing the third most yards per game to opponents.
The Saints have been able to score at will all season long, averaging a league-high 37.8 points per game. Drew Brees has been breaking records all season long and has connected on 90% on his pass attempts to his best receiver Michael Thomas. The run game has been a two-headed monster, with both Ingram and Kamara contributing in big ways. This offense should be able to get whatever they want, whenever they want, and it will just be a matter of getting stops against the Falcons offense. The Saints defense hasn’t been phenomenal, but it has been better of late allowing a total of 21 points over their last two games.
The Saints enter this game as 13-point favorites, with the over/under set at 60. This game will be a shootout with not much defense being played. The Saints will score at will, and the Falcons should be able to get their fair share of scores. The over is the play in this game as the scoreboard should light up early and often. But if I had to choose a side, I would take Atlanta and the points as these division battles always seem to stay close no matter what.
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