When the Saints (9-2) travel to face the Falcons (3-8) in an NFC South battle on Thanksgiving, they won’t be just looking for revenge after losing to their rivals in New Orleans three weeks ago. They also can clnch a third consecutive division title, as with a win, they would be up 4.5 games up on the Panthers (5-6) with only four left to play.
The Saints lost that shocker in Week 10, 26-9, but they have since routed the Buccaneers and edged the Panthers in NFC South play. The Falcons routed the Panthers on the road in Week 11 but got ripped by the Buccaneers at home in Week 12.
It’s a holiday, but there won’t be much love given from the Saints to the Falcons as they look to take their latest crown.
Saints vs. Falcons odds for Thanksgiving 2019
The Saints have been around touchdown favorites since the initial line came out, which means they would be 10-point favorites again if this game was in the other Mercedes-Benz monikered venue. Although New Orleans had to fight hard not to be upset by Carolina, Atlanta regressed to looking terrible against Tampa Bay.
Saints vs. Falcons all-time series
The Falcons lead the series 53-48. Before their Week 10 game, however, they had dropped three straight in the rivalry. Before that, it was the Falcons who enjoyed a three-game winning streak. That’s been the nature of this tight, up-and-down matchup over the years as the teams have competed in both the NFC West and NFC South.
Three trends to know
— 67 percent of bettors like the Saints to cover the spread. 54 percent of moneyline bettors also are on the Saints to even the season series.
— 60 percent of bettors like the point total to go over with Drew Brees and Matt Ryan quarterbacking two potent passing games, despite the defenses’ recent successes.
— The Saints are 7-4 against the spread this season. The Falcons are 3-7-1 against the spread this season.
Three things to watch
Freeman healthier, but Jones not
Falcons running back Devonta Freeman is set to return from his foot injury, but now go-to wide receiver Julio Jones has a shoulder injury. The Falcons will do their best to get their running game back on track, but with Brees on the other side, they will need to throw more to win the rematch. Should Jones be limited and Ryan continue to slump, that’s not bound to happen.
Kamara and Murray
The Saints have their dynamic backfield duo working extremely well together. The Falcons have been good against the run, averaging giving up only 3.9 yards per carry. But Kamara is a nightmare on the edge and in the short passing game, while Murray has great power and burst with which to change the pace.
Thomas and Cook
Michael Thomas continues to be a beastly record-setting presence as the Saints’ top wide receiver. But now he has a real running buddy in tight end Jared Cook, emerging as a consistently dangerous No. 2 option. The Falcons don’t really have combined coverage answers for them.
Stat that matters
The Falcons have the No. 27 pass defense in the NFL, allowing on average 266.4 passing yards per game. The Saints have the No. 9 passing offense, averaging 260.5 yards per game. With Brees fully back and Atlanta getting burned badly downfield by Jameis Winston and the Bucs last week, this bodes well for New Orleans to stay moving on the road in a controlled environment.
Saints vs. Falcons prediction
The Saints’ passing game is red-hot and their running game is starting to find its groove at the right time of the season. The Falcons can’t run effectively even with Freeman and Ryan and the passing game tend to be disappointing in what looks like favorable situations. The Saints will remember what happened in the Big Easy and won’t take it easy on the Falcons, celebrating another division title in the visitors’ locker room.
Saints 27, Falcons 20