The New Orleans Saints took down NFC South foe Carolina in Week 12, can they do the same to Atlanta on Thanksgiving?
In what looked to be a route last Sunday, a sudden turn of events turned the New Orleans Saints Week 12 matchup into a classic 34-31 NFC South rivalry game that saw the Saints take down the Panthers on a walk-off field goal by Wil Lutz with three seconds left in regulation.
In a short turn around the New Orleans Saints (9-2) are on the road to face their divisional rivals, the Atlanta Falcons (3-8), for a Thursday night Thanksgiving showdown in Atlanta.
In week 9 we saw the (1-7) Atlanta Falcons come into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and enforce their will upon the Saints at home, holding the Saints to just three field goals and no touchdowns. They beat the Saints 26-9 in a stunning and unexpected performance.
In that week 9 match-up, the New Orleans Saints, as a team, performed poorly, producing no touchdowns offensively and giving up six crucial sacks on Future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees.
Coming into this Thursday night match-up, the Saints are the last leg of four straight division games where they coming in riding a two-game winning streak and having a three-game lead in the NFC South.
The New Orleans Saints offensive line will be in question this game.
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Without Pro Bowl left tackle Terron Armstead (ankle) and Andrus Peat (arm), who is for 6 weeks, can we control the line of scrimmage and keep Drew Brees upright and produce more than 47 yards rushing between Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray.
If last Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers was any indicator to that question, the answer is yes.
Veteran Patrick Omameh filled in nicely and guard Nick Easton continued to play quality football.
Drew Brees was allowed to complete 77% of his passes going 30-for-39 for 311 yards and three touchdowns. Both running backs combined for over 100 yards, which should give the Saints something to build on moving forward to Atlanta.
Offensively for this match-up, I fully expect wide receiver Michael Thomas and tight end Jared Cook to continue their productive trends.
Both are coming off high-volume games.
Jared Cook hauled in six receptions for 99 yards and touchdown, and Michael Thomas hauled in ten receptions for 101 and a touchdown. He also recorded his record-setting 104th reception through the first 11 games.
Defensively, the Saints have to set the tone early and create a pass rush to pressure Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Ryan was not great against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 12.
The New Orleans Saints defense is currently ranked No. 9 in sacks with 31. They got to Carolina’s Kyle Allen four times last week.
Matt Ryan was sacked six times last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which should bode well for the Saints defense. But as we learned in week 9 versus the Falcons, any team can be beaten at any time on any given Sunday.
With a win Thursday night the New Orleans Saints could clinch the division and set the stage for a head-to-head match-up against the San Francisco 49ers to take sole possession of the No .1 seed in the NFC.
Until then Happy Thanksgiving, Who Dat Nation!