It's both eerie feeling and a relief that the Saints aren't playing today on Thanksgiving. Increased COVID-19 cases forced the Ravens-Steelers game into the 12:15 p.m. CT spot on Sunday in a nationally televised NBC broadcast, so Thanksgiving football gets back to their roots with the Lions and Cowboys being the lone teams to play on Thursday. Detroit is set to host the Houston Texans at 11:30 a.m., while the Cowboys play host to the Washington Football Team at 3:30 p.m. In honor of Thanksgiving today
In honor of Thanksgiving, we take a quick trip down memory lane for Sean Payton's squad, who are 3-0 on Turkey Day.
2010 - Saints 30, Cowboys 27
Following the Super Bowl year, the Saints had their fair share of challenges, but were putting together a good run to follow up their Lombardi Trophy season. They got their first appearance on Thanksgiving in a matchup that lost some of its luster with Tony Romo being out of the game due to a broken clavicle in late October. Regardless, Jon Kitna helped pilot Dallas back from a 20-6 deficit and early 17-0 first quarter hole.
The Cowboys took a 27-23 lead with less than six minutes to play, and looked like they were on their way for the knockout after stopping New Orleans and getting a huge 3rd-and-6 conversion to Roy Williams. However, it was Malcolm Jenkins who made the play of the game, as he tracked Williams down and essentially took the ball away from him. The Saints would go to work with just over three minutes left in the game, as Brees would find Lance Moore for the go-ahead score. Dallas would make it interesting, trying for a 59-yard field goal as time expired, but the Saints would escape with victory and march to 8-3.
2018 - Saints 31, Falcons 17
In 2018, the Saints got their second appearance on Thanksgiving, hosting the Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the final game of the day. The NFC South rivalry finally got some good hype, but the end result saw New Orleans win its 10th straight game of the season. Drew Brees only passed for 171 yards and was picked once, but ended up tossing four touchdowns in a completely dominant performance over Atlanta. Coincidentally, it was all undrafted rookie free agents who caught touchdowns from Brees (Tommylee Lewis, Austin Carr, Dan Arnold, and Keith Kirkwood).
The Falcons turned the ball over four times, which included the Julio Jones Juliocopter play, where he fumbled due to an Alex Anzalone hit. Check out the full game on YouTube, or go enjoy the 10 minutes of highlights.
2019 - Saints 26, Falcons 18
New Orleans played a second straight game on Thanksgiving, this time going to Atlanta to take on a Falcons team who had upset them in the Superdome just 18 days before. The Saints didn't disappoint on national television, sacking Matt Ryan nine times and having Taysom Hill be an utter pain in their side. The final score really didn't tell the whole story here, as Atlanta made a real late push in the final four minutes after being down 26-9.
Take a look at the condensed version of last year's Thanksgiving win over the Falcons, or catch the full highlights. Of course, just relive the best play from that game, the Shy Tuttle stiff-arm on Matt Ryan, as told by the German broadcast.
Perhaps the Saints will play again on Thanksgiving at some point in the future. Looking ahead at the 2021 opponents, going against the Buccaneers would be an interesting choice, assuming that Tom Brady and Drew Brees would both still be there. They'll also host a NFC North opponent and travel to play a NFC West opponent. As always, we'll just have to wait and see what happens.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Enjoy some good food and football with the company of others.