We all marked our calendar when the NFL schedule came out in April. Every season we look to see when the Saints will play their most hated rival in the Atlanta Falcons. This year, the first game was in Atlanta with the Saints coming out with an overtime victory. This time, it will be a first in the rivalry as both teams will compete on Thanksgiving night in the Superdome. These two franchises do not like each other, especially when it comes to the fans. The Who Dat Nation will always have the upper hand when it comes to trash talk and I think we know why.
The rivalry has gone back all the way to 1967 since the Saints became a franchise. The Falcons lead the all-time series at 52-47. However, in the Drew Brees era, the Saints have had the upper hand winning 17 out of 25 games. Not to mention, in those 25 games, 15 of them were decided by 8 points or less. You can always expect a dog fight when these two teams get together with numbers like that. So, it is only fitting to look at the stats to see what kind of matchup we can expect to see on Thursday night.
As you can see, both teams are pretty even in certain categories. The biggest areas where the Saints can take advantage are the run game on both sides of the ball. Injuries for Atlanta on defense have played a big factor for them all season, especially with Deion Jones being out since Week 1. Compared to the last matchup, the Saints defense has improved a lot and with the addition of Eli Apple, the Saints have opened up their playbook a lot more to be more aggressive in blitz packages. It will still be a tough challenge against the trio of Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley, who had a career game in the first game.
Overall, the Saints are coming in hot and the Falcons have dropped their last two games after getting back to .500. We can expect them to give it all they got and look for the upset. However, if the Big Easy Train gets rolling early, it will definitely be hard to stop and hopefully the Who Dat Nation can enjoy a very happy Thanksgiving. Let’s eat up!