Thanksgiving Day Game - New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons: Predictions and Odds (NFL Week 13)
The Green Men of WSN’s Picks and Best Bets Podcast predict the Saints to win this one. My prediction for the final score is Saints 27, Falcons 23.
How to Watch: Saints vs Falcons
What: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
When: Sunday, November 28 at 8:20 pm ET
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia
How (TV): NBC
Saints vs Falcons – Point Spread
Saints -6.5, Falcons +6.5
New Orleans vs Atlanta – Game Preview
The last game scheduled for the NFL’s Thanksgiving Day tripleheader could either be a complete blowout or a decent matchup, depending on whether the New Orleans Saints face the Atlanta Falcons that live up to their talent level or the team that has lost eight of their games so far this season.
The Saints are coming off a Week 12 home win over the Carolina Panthers by a field goal, whereas the Falcons were handed a loss by the hit-or-miss Tampa Bay Buccaneers by a score of 22-35, a sign that Matt Ryan’s Falcons are already done for the season.
New Orleans is heading for the postseason while Atlanta is ready for reconstruction, so let’s take a quick look at how these two teams stack up against each other for this last of three Thanksgiving Day matchups to take place in Week 13.
For more on Week 13, check out our latest video on NFL Week 13 Picks & Best Bets.
The 9-2-0 New Orleans Saints
Despite throwing a rare pick, Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees had himself a dandy in Week 12, leading his team to victory over a hard-hitting Carolina Panthers by throwing for over 300+ yards and 3 touchdown passes to win the game by a last-minute Wil Lutz field goal, 34-31.
The Saints have some holy targets – receivers Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn, and tight end Jared Cook – while dual-threat running back Alvin Kamara takes care of business on the ground and through the air.
New Orleans also dominates in another category here that they typically don’t measure up in – defense, their squad statistically better all around than the Falcons right now, something that will prove helpful while facing them in front of their hometown crowd.
The 3-8-0 Atlanta Falcons
If overall talent had anything to do with it, the Atlanta Falcons would be at least 8-3 right now, but they can’t seem to get the job done, falling in Week 12 for the eighth time this season, this time to a Buccaneers team that they could have easily beat.
Despite their last-place position in the NFC South, Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan is ranked as the 7th most productive NFL quarterback right now, throwing for almost 3,000 total yards and 18 touchdowns, though his 10 interceptions could explain why his offense has been coming up short.
Atlanta is essentially out of the playoff run at this point, so they will have to act as a spoiler for the last few weeks of this NFL regular season, and what better way to start than to hand the much favored Saints a loss in Week 13 in front of a nationally televised audience and cause them to question their overall effectiveness in the big games.
Saints vs Falcons – History
These two rivals have met 101 total times (including 1 postseason game), with New Orleans winning 48 of those times and Atlanta winning the other 53 games.
The last time these two teams played was earlier this month in Week 10 of the 2019 season, when (in New Orleans) the Falcons handed the Saints one of their only two losses of the season by a score of 26-9.
If the Saints win this matchup, they’ll move to 10-2-0 and stay in sole possession of the NFC South, and so far they are projected to be the second NFC playoff seed behind the one-loss San Francisco 49ers.
But if the Falcons come out winners in this one, they’ll be 4-8-0, and though it won’t affect their ability to make the playoffs (they still won’t), it might help morale in Atlanta because this talented team has underperformed for the second season in a row under head coach Dan Quinn.
Questions to Answer
Who’s favored to win this Week 13 Saints-Falcons matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to briefly compare the Saints and the Falcons next and attempt to answer those questions and more.
For more on Saints vs Falcons, head to our Youtube channel to watch the predictions for the game. Find the Saints vs Falcons at minute 11:30.
Offensive Stats Comparison
New Orleans Saints Overall Offense
- Ranked 12th overall in 2019
- Passing attack currently ranked 9th
- Rushing attack currently ranked 17th
The New Orleans Saints are actually slightly less effective on the offensive side of the ball than the Falcons they face in Week 13, but they seem to be able to get the job done more consistently.
The Saints’ offense averages almost 25 points per game, which should be plenty enough to beat a Falcons team that scores around 22 points every outing, with New Orleans less effective through the air and on the ground than Atlanta right now.
New Orleans is hoping that center Will Clapp (back) and wide receiver Deonte Harris (hamstring) can suit up on Thursday (both are listed as questionable for this one), or the depth of their offense will certainly suffer.
Atlanta Falcons Overall Offense
- Ranked 10th overall in 2019
- Passing attack currently ranked 3rd
- Rushing attack currently ranked 31st
The Atlanta Falcons have an effective offense – but mostly with their passing attack (quarterback Matt Ryan is exceptional) while their run game leaves much to be desired, right now ranked the second-worst in the league.
That’s surprising given that the Falcons have talented running back Devona Freeman on their roster, who averaged almost 5 yards per carry last season (4.8) but who is posting just 3.5 yards per run during this difficult 2019 season.
Of course, injuries tell the story for Atlanta’s offense, right now with Freeman (foot), tight end Austin Hooper (knee – MCL), wide receiver Julio Jones (shoulder) and tight end Luke Stocker (back) all listed as questionable for this one.
On paper, the Atlanta Falcons have the offensive advantage in this one, but given the extent of their injuries, that might not hold true on Thursday night and the Saints could be dominant on that side of the ball.
Defensive Stats Comparison
New Orleans Saints Overall Defense
- Ranked 10th overall in 2019
- Passing defense currently ranked 15th
- Rushing defense currently ranked 4th
For the last few seasons, the Saints seemed to lack effectiveness on the defensive side of the ball, but this season, coordinator Dennis Allen seems to have gotten his guys in order, and they have become a top-10 team at shutting their opponents down.
The Saints allow whomever they play to average just 321 total offensive yards and just over 20 points per game, and this could be the difference in this Thanksgiving ballgame given that both offenses can break out at any time.
The Saints might have to play this game without star cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who right now is listed as questionable with an injured hamstring, so cornerback Eli Apple may have to cover Falcons deep threat Julio Jones on Thursday.
Atlanta Falcons Overall Defense
- Ranked 26th overall in 2019
- Passing defense currently ranked 27th
- Rushing defense currently ranked 18th
This is the area of the Falcons’ game that has been keeping them from a winning record, with three of their five losses coming by a score or less, frustrating fourth-quarter losses that could have “easily” been won.
One Falcons player who has been getting the job done on defense is tackle Grady Jarrett, who so far has 5.5 sacks, 13 quarterback hits and 49 total tackles with 2 forced fumbles on the season.
Some injuries may affect Atlanta on defense in this one – right now defensive tackle Tyeler Davison (neck), cornerback Desmond Trufant, (toe), safety Kemal Ishmael (concussion) and end Takkarist McKinley (shoulder) are all listed as questionable for Week 13.
The New Orleans Saints are healthier and better statistically on defense, so they will have the defensive advantage over the Falcons in this game.
Saints vs Falcons – Final Game Analysis
Why Will the Saints Win this Game?
The New Orleans Saints will win this one because Drew Brees will make sure of it – he will pick apart the Falcons’ poor pass defense with one of the league’s best receivers right now, Michael Thomas, a combo that has put Thomas in the MVP conversation for this season.
The Saints may be traveling, but they are 4-1 away from the Superdome so they know how to bring their hometown magic on the road with them, and given how hopeless the Falcons’ season has become, they most likely won’t have to battle too much Atlanta noise.
New Orleans will win this one because right now they are preparing for the postseason and the big wins that are necessary to make it to the Big Game, so this slight road bump against the Falcons will be just another feather in their cap (their 10th one, in fact) on their way to potential postseason greatness.
Why Will the Falcons Win this Game?
The Atlanta Falcons could win this game (or any game this season) because they have the talent and the playmakers to do it (they proved that by beating the Saints in Week 10) – only that has not been quite enough to get the job done in most other cases so far this year, and it’s tough to say why unless you point to the injuries.
The Falcons’ are solid on offense for the most part – except they have trouble scoring in the red zone, right now ranked 21st in the league when they are within the twenty-yard line, scoring in just over 50% of those situations.
Atlanta could win this one if they miraculously heal up across the board so that their defense could perform at their peak capabilities, but that doesn’t seem to be possible at this point, so the “next man up” will have to get the job done on Thanksgiving evening, something “he” has failed to do a lot this season.
Saints vs Falcons – Final Score
The New Orleans Saints will win this one by four points, with the Brees / Ryan competition through the air being ultimately controlled by the Saints’ superior defense.
The Green Men of WSN’s Picks and Best Bets Podcast predict the Saints to win this one.
My prediction for the final score is Saints 27, Falcons 23.
New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons – Game Odds