This year, the NFL has not one, but two Thanksgiving games that are rematches from last year’s slate. The first matchup pits the Detroit Lions against the Chicago Bears, and the second, features the (9-2) New Orleans Saints against their divisional rival (3-8) Atlanta Falcons, in tonight’s third and final game (8:30pm ET Thursday on NBC).
When the NFL added a third Thanksgiving game in 2006, the intent was to give teams not likely to be on Detroit or the Dallas Cowboys’ schedule, a chance to get chosen to play in a televised primetime game. It is unlikely that the league ever expected that the same two teams would play against each other in back-to-back years such is the case with the Saints and Falcons.
Last year, the game was won by the Saints in a final score of 31-17. This result was not however the case the last time these two teams met, when just a few weeks ago, the then-one win Falcons stunned the then-one loss Saints in a lopsided 26-9 blowout. Atlanta’s third win of the season, and second in a row, came the following week against the Carolina Panthers, in another dominating victory.
Much has been the case for the Falcons for the better part of the season, they returned to the loss column last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It marked Atlanta’s eighth loss, a number that has been quite head scratching. Woefully underachieving, Atlanta has shown at times this year, to be a better team than their record indicates. They have played quite a tough schedule as well with only three of their 11 games so far coming against sub-.500 teams.
The Saints are having another classic New Orleans season. Their nine wins are made even more impressive considering they didn’t miss a beat when Drew Brees missed several games due to injury. Sitting in first place in the NFC South, the Saints opened up with a win against the Houston Texans before a loss against the Los Angeles Rams.
New Orleans then reeled off six wins in a row, doing so mainly with Teddy Bridgewater under center. Having missed much of the past two seasons with what some thought could have been a career-ending injury, Bridgewater’s 2019 was nothing short of inspiring. Stepping in for Brees, Bridgewater’s goal was simple. Just keep the Saints close enough within contention so that when Brees came back he didn’t have to dig them out of too deep a hole.
Bridgewater did a lot more than just keep the Saints above water. A candidate for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year, Bridgewater led the Saints to a perfect 5-0 record in the games he started. His success allowed the Saints to avoid accelerating Brees’ return timeline out of desperation. Able to fully heal, Brees returned in week eight and had a stellar performance, tossing for a season high 373 yards. This led the Saints into the bye with an NFC-best 7-1 record. New Orleans then lost to the Falcons before picking up wins eight and nine against the Buccaneers and Panthers.
Our Betting Preview’s New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons Predictions & Picks Verdict
For the second time in the last four weeks, the Saints and Falcons will do battle again, this time, in Atlanta. Home field advantage notwithstanding, the Saints are favored to win by seven points according to the top-tier betting sites for USA sports wagering. This would keep their perfect 2-0 Thanksgiving record intact while moving the Falcons to just 1-3 on the holiday. More importantly, it would help New Orleans solidify their lead for the best record in the NFC and home field advantage in the playoffs.
These are the New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons predictions for this Thanksgiving Day NFL preview:
- Take the Saints to become the NFC’s first team (and just the second after the New England Patriots) to get to 10 wins this season. Don’t expect lightning to strike twice for the Falcons. Bet New Orleans -6.5pts @ best odds of -115 with Intertops or BetOnline. They are favored by 7pts with Bovada.
- When the Saints are at their best, they boast one of the NFL’s best and most high-powered offenses. Brees and Michael Thomas are a phenomenal duo as Thomas, a bona fide MVP candidate, leads the NFL this year in targets and receptions. Look for him to have a big day. So the last of USAbetting’s picks is to go over 48.5 total points @ best odds of -105 with Intertops.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.