The final match of the triple header of action in the NFL on Thanksgiving Day is another battle between sides in the same division when the Atlanta Falcons host the runaway leaders of the NFC South, New Orleans Saints to round off a wonderful day.
The Saints are seemingly cruising towards the postseason and are playing for their seeding in the NFC race to the Super Bowl whereas their opponents here are going nowhere fast, but would love to upset a rival.
At 3-8 this has been a season to forget for the Atlanta Falcons, another one of those which will put pressure on them for next term. Injuries have near enough decimated any chances they ever had this season and with the trade that allowed Mohamed Sanu to leave, you got the feeling that the Falcons gave up for the campaign. That is not too surprising given how it has gone but since then they have shown some signs of life.
Prior to their loss to Tampa Bay last week, the Falcons had beaten both New Orleans and Carolina on the road and only shipped 12pts cumulatively in those games, so that was a definite improvement. They might just have caught those opponents on a good day though. Atlanta do sit third in passing in the league this season, but that they are second last in running the ball has been one of their problems. Their defence has been another.
New Orleans Saints
Full credit must go to the New Orleans Saints for maintaining their season in the way that they have done. They were without Drew Brees for a number of weeks but are still 9-2 for the campaign and are firmly in the hunt for the number one seed in the NFC. In order to secure that though they need to keep on winning as they are already behind the San Francisco 49ers, so from that point of view this is a big game.
Things have just been getting a little tighter for the Saints recently. They were wiped out by Atlanta not too long ago and then last week they only managed to overcome the Carolina Panthers in overtime. This is a Saints side which aren’t high up on many, if any, offensive stats but who get the job done. Their defence is much improved though and ranks in the top 10 and that could be important as they go on the road after a short week.
Michael Thomas is the leading wide receiver in football this season and I expect him to go well in this match. He has gone past 100 yards in his last five outings and seven of his 11 matches altogether this season, even though he has been without his first choice trigger man for much of the campaign. One of those outings was against the Atlanta Falcons where he picked up 152 receiving yards and I expect something similar here.
As I eluded to above this is a must win match for the Saints, and I daresay a bit of revenge will be in their minds after the defeat earlier in the month. Atlanta Falcons’ defence rated the fifth worst against the pass in the NFL this season so I’m expecting Brees and Thomas to combine for a number of plays here. Thomas has a receiving line at 107.5 yards for this match. It seems high but based on recent outings it isn’t high enough to me. He caught for 129 yards in this fixture last season to the over looks the move here.
Back M.Thomas – Over 107.5 receiving yards for a 4/10 stake at 1.90 with Betway