- The New Orleans Saints survived a scare against the Carolina Panthers Sunday with a 34-31 win
- The Atlanta Falcons laid an egg in Week 12 against the struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneer, losing 35-22
- Read our analysis below to see how the line could shift leading up to Thanksgiving Day
Whenever two divisional opponents meet up in the NFL, conventional wisdom gets thrown by the wayside. Sitting at 1-7 going into their November 10th matchup, the Atlanta Falcons dominated the then one-loss New Orleans Saints. With the two teams battling Thanksgiving night, the Saints opened as 5.5-point favorites on the road.
During their week 12 contest against the struggling Carolina Panthers, the Saints showed their defensive vulnerabilities. New Orleans allowed backup quarterback Kyle Allen to throw for 256 yards, an average of 7.1 yards per. It took Carolina missing a go-ahead field goal late in the fourth quarter for the Saints to even have an opportunity at a game-winning drive.
The Buccaneers firmly handled Atlanta in a 35-22 blowout week 12. After two straight strong defensive performances, receiver Chris Godwin burned the Falcons for 184 yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions. That presents an awfully great opportunity for Saints star Michael Thomas to continue marching towards NFL history on Thursday.
Saints vs Falcons Odds
|New Orleans Saints||-5.5 (-105)|
|Atlanta Falcons||+5.5 (-115)|
Odds from November 24.
With the Saints opening as 5.5 point favorites 85 percent of the money has come in on the Falcons to cover the spread. However, over the course of this season, New Orleans is 7-3 against the spread and Atlanta is a meager 4-6 against the spread. On a short week, I’m inclined to believe better talent will prevail with less preparation.
With the Saints finding a way to win and the Falcons having a stinker, I expect the line to shift in New Orleans’ direction come Thursday. Even with the early money on Atlanta, Jameis Winston torching the Falcons is too much to simply overlook. While moving assistant coach Raheem Morris from offense to defense paid off in the short term for the Falcons, at some point, the talent will play to its level.
The Saints have a better offense and defense than the Falcons. In addition, the Falcons’ offensive production mostly comes while chasing points from behind.
Atlanta averages the 26th most points per game allowed. With New Orleans’ offense, I’d expect the Saints to move the ball well. Last week, New Orleans opened as an 8.5-point favorite against Carolina and it ultimately closed at 9.5. Since Atlanta’s defense is worse than Carolina, I’d expect the line movement to be similar.
The Saints have a high public perception, are riding a two-game winning streak and have a winning record against the spread. As a result, I expect the spread to end up somewhere around 7 points.