Thanksgiving NFL Picks: Saints can pluck away Falcons playoff hopes

A preview of tomorrow's trio of NFL games

Seth Dunlap
November 21, 2018 - 7:36 pm

After enjoying Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing, football fans will get treated to a Saints-Falcons dessert tomorrow night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.   The sweetest part about tomorrow's nightcap for Saints fans would be a delectable New Orleans victory that would essentially eliminate the Falcons from the playoff hunt.

Vegas thinks that's likely to happen.   The Saints are currently 12.5 point favorites in most sports books, a number that's only gotten higher as the game approaches.  Here's an early edition of our weekly NFL picks, covering tomorrow's trio of turkey day games. 


Falcons @ Saints (-12.5)

The Saints offense continues to light up the scoreboard, and their opponents, like we haven’t seen in the NFL since at least Denver’s historically great regular season in 2013.   New Orleans has defeated their past four opponents, all teams with winning records, by double digits.  Their 144 points in the past three weeks is a franchise record over any three game span.

The Falcons thought they would get a boost if linebacker Deion Jones had returned, but he’s been officially ruled out of tomorrow’s contest.

Take the Saints in a short-week rout, with fans taking their celebration to Bourbon Street after a season-sweep of their arch-rivals.

Pick: Saints 41, Falcons 24

Against the Spread: Saints -12.5


Bears (-3) @ Lions

There are still doubters about this Chicago team, even after their impressive Sunday night performance against Minnesota last week.   The Bears defense continues to be among the league’s best, but it’s their offense that’s given them the ability to separate from lesser opponents.   They’ve scored 31+ points in three of their past five games, and four of their past seven.   They’ve also won four straight games outright.

Meanwhile, the Lions are coming off an unexpected win against Carolina last week, a victory that eased a bit of pressure off of Matt Patricia and this new Lions’ coaching staff.  Here, they’re just outmatched at nearly every position.  That might even include quarterback.

*NOTE:  Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is reportedly going to miss this game.  If he does, the safer play is probably on the Lions at +3, but we'll take this play OFF due to this uncertainty*

Pick: Bears 31, Lions 17* (see note above)

ATS: Bears -3* (see note above)


Washington @ Dallas (-7.5)

How quickly things change in the National Football League.   A week ago Washington had a two game lead on everybody else in the NFC East, and looked like a pretty sure bet to win the division and grab a playoff spot.   Now, they’ve lost quarterback Alex Smith to a gruesome leg injury and will have to run out Colt McCoy the rest of the season.

Washington still has a one game lead over Dallas in the division, but the Cowboys have become Vegas-favorites to win the division.   Dallas is coming off impressive road wins in Philadelphia and Atlanta, and are once again playing the smash-mouth football that they’ve been most successful with the past few years. 

The Cowboys should coast to a win at home, but it might be closer than expected as both teams play great defense and Washington has the front seven to slow down this Dallas rushing attack. 

Pick: Cowboys 24, Washington 20

ATS: Washington +7.5



Last week’s picks


Last week straight up:  4-9



Last week against the spread:  6-5-1

SEASON ATS:  67-60-3


Listen to Seth Dunlap on "The Last Lap" weeknights on WWL Radio from 8-11 p.m. CDT

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