From everyone here at The Other Side Sports, I’d like to extend the best holiday wishes on this Thanksgiving Day. If there was one thing we are thankful for is the loyal people who read our articles and follow us. Thank you all for giving us life.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. There isn’t many holidays where I can spend the time with my family, friends, eat plenty of delicious homemade food, and watch football. This year is a little bit different from most because of course we get the Lions and Cowboys to watch but for us here in Atlanta we get to see the Falcons take on the Saints! I guess my black Friday shopping will be delayed a few hours this year.
FALCONS (+13.5) @ SAINTS (-13.5)
Many people including Vegas are writing us off in this game and maybe they are on to something but I’m here to tell you I love the spread for the Falcons in this one. I can’t help but wonder what the line would look like with Deion Jones back (who was ruled OUT yesterday).
There’s a couple of notes to consider when this game comes on later tonight:
- The Falcons are playing with their backs against the wall. This season couldn’t have gone any different for the Falcons and tonight the Saints look to ruin the Falcons’ season in primetime on Thanksgiving. The Saints are 9-1 and can afford a loss. The Falcons HAVE to win to keep the playoff hopes alive. Lose tonight and you can all but kiss the playoffs goodbye.
- The previous matchup in Atlanta went to OT. The spread for this game suggests the Saints are a far superior team after adding Eli Apple which simply can’t be the case. There have been some key injuries for the Falcons since then but the Offense should still be able to put up points.
- The Saints still have a bad defense. Everyone can get mesmerized by the blowout they put on the Eagles but that’s an aberration. The Eagles are one-dimensional on offense and Carson Wentz played his worst game to date. The Falcons are balanced on offense and should be able to have a lot of success with Calvin Ridley finding a home in our offense and Ito Smith providing solid RB play when Coleman comes out of the game.
- Offense is still both team’s strongest quality. The Falcons and Saints over the past decade have both had stronger offenses than defenses (minus the bounty gate year when the Saints were cheap-shotting their competition). Matt Ryan is 3rd in passing yards and Julio Jones leads the NFL in receiving yards. Drew Brees is 6th in passing yards and Michael Thomas is 2nd in receptions and 3rd in receiving yards. Alvin Kamara has 1117 total offensive yards and Tevin Coleman has 751 total yards for the Falcons.
Usually when I see a +10 spread in the NFL I usually pick against the spread because the game usually swings into a defensive game for the underdog. With a Saints win the Falcons would fall to 4-7 and virtually have to win out to go 9-7. 9-7 might be a good enough record for the playoffs if it weren’t for the 2 ties sitting ahead of them with Minnesota and Green Bay. A loss is something that just can’t happen and I expect EVERY Falcons’ player to play their hearts out to make sure that doesn’t happen. Falcons +13.5
The Annual Turkey Day Special
I love watching the Lions and Cowboys on Thanksgiving. This year’s matchups look promising as you have the 1st place 7-3 Bears taking on the 4th place 4-6 Lions. The Lions have had their struggles this year and the Bears have experienced much more anticipated success with their acquisition of Khalil Mack. This is a game just like the Falcons for the Lions, where if they lose the playoffs are all but eliminated from view. I expect to see a defensive battle and low scoring affair. Much like the Panthers and Lions game from Sunday. Under 43.5
Unfortunately for the Redskins, Alex Smith may never play again. On the other hand, Colt McCoy returns to Texas to take on a surging Cowboys team who looks to be the favorites to win the NFC East now. This should be an interesting matchup between 2 good run stopping defenses. If the Cowboys are going to win this one they’ll need to play the consistent defense they’ve shown all year and get the ball in the hands of Zeke and Amari Cooper. Colt McCoy remains the Wild Card for the Redskins as we have yet another installation of Cowboys vs Indians. Dallas (-300); Dallas -7
College Edition for Thanksgiving
College Football sees Colorado State taking on fellow in-state rival Air Force and another edition of the Egg Bowl. I see a horrendous Colorado State defense giving up a lot of rushing yards to the Air Force Falcons and losing this one.
As for the Egg Bowl, Mississippi State remains the team that hasn’t beaten any ranked teams but is better than more than half of their and has remained ranked. In other words, Mississippi State is OVERRATED so the -13 spread seems ridiculous when going up against the nation’s 2nd leading passer in Jordan Ta’amu for the Rebels. I expect this game to be close. Whether it’s a high scoring game or not, I would be extremely surprised to see Mississippi State cover the spread. Mississippi +13
I love that we get College Basketball this time of year and after watching Gonzaga upset Duke yesterday we must remember that no matter the hype anyone can be beaten. Even though I’ll be watching football, there are a few games of note to watch if you are inclined.
Virginia vs Dayton: Perennial ACC powerhouse Virginia look to make amends for their UMBC loss in the heaviest upset in NCAA Tournament History. Dayton is always a hard out and made the tournament 4 straight years under Archie Miller before leaving for Indiana. The Flyers went 14-17 in Anthony Grant’s first year as head coach. This will be an interesting game to watch to see what both 4-0 teams look like this year to see if they are back on track.
Texas vs UNC: North Carolina is 7th in the nation with strong perimeter shooting. Roy Williams always has his program ready to compete at a high level so we know what we are getting from the Tar Heels. The question mark is on Shaka Smart. After having extraordinary success at VCU, Smart hasn’t been able to replicate that success at Texas so far. Both teams are undefeated on the year and this should be a fast paced and fun game to watch.
Michigan State vs UCLA: #11 vs #17 is always bound to be a fun one to watch. We know what Tom Izzo can do and Steve Alford has made 3 Sweet Sixteens and an early exit from the tournament last season. At 10:00 EST, this should be the must watch television sporting event for the enthusiast who aren’t passed out from all the Turkey. Should be a good one.
Which ever you choose to watch or what ever you choose to do today, I hope you have a great day and thanks for checking out The Other Side Sports.
Happy Thanksgiving and Go Falcons.
*image coutesy of https://www.pinterest.com/pin/33917803419396162/