The New Orleans Saints are the hottest team in football right now as they are sitting on a nine-game win streak with one of the strongest offenses in the league. They hope a short week will not be an issue for them as they host the NFC South rival Atlanta Falcons this Thursday in a Thanksgiving showdown.

After the Saints were the only team in the division to win in Week 11, which has happened in consecutive weeks, a win against the Falcons would further pad their lead over the rest of the NFC South.

Historically, the Saints and Falcons have always matched up well with each other despite the two teams' records. The average margin of victory between the two teams over the last 13 matchups dating back to 2012 is 6.76 points, with the Saints holding a 7-6 edge over the Falcons.

The two teams met in Week 3 and the Saints were victorious in a 43-37 overtime classic that had fans scratching their heads about what kind of team New Orleans was. We now know what both teams bring to the table with the Saints at 9-1 and the Falcons at 4-6.

Here are three key X-factors for the New Orleans Saints against the Falcons on Thanksgiving.

marshon lattimore

3. The Saints' Run Defense

The New Orleans Saints' passing defense is pretty abysmal as they have allowed 282.3 yards per game, ranking 27th in the NFL. Luckily for the Saints, they don't allow many yards on the ground as they are second in the league in rushing defense with just under 78 yards against them per game. That should bode well for the Saints against the Falcons, who have still yet to break the 1,000-yard mark without star back Devonta Freeman.

Sheldon Rankins is in his absolute prime and is a force in the middle of the defensive line for the Saints, while Marcus Davenport is proving worthy of the trade up in the first round and Cam Jordan is doing what Cam Jordan does. The real star of the front seven for New Orleans this year, however, is Demario Davis.

Davis has proven to be a huge get for the Saints from the Jets in the offseason. He proved that when he was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week against the New York Giants in Week 4 after an 11 tackle, two sack showing. If he can repeat that performance against Atlanta and force them to throw the ball down the field, it should open up more opportunities for the Saints to get turnovers.

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Tre'Quan Smith, Saints

2. Tre'Quan Smith

When you think of the New Orleans Saints' offense, three players usually come to mind: Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas. These three players should come to your mind, definitely, but rookie wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith should be involved in the conversation of most explosive weapons for the Saints.

Smith had the best game of his young career last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, the defending Super Bowl champions, in a 48-7 beat down. He went for 157 yards and a score on 10 receptions. Against one of the worst passing defenses in the NFL in the Falcons, Smith has a chance for another career day.

In their earlier match-up against Atlanta, Thomas and Kamara combined for 25 receptions and 253 yards. Expect the Falcons to try and key on them in the game, which opens the door for Smith to have a big day.

Alvin Kamara, Saints

1. Dat Dome Crowd

The New Orleans Saints don't lose at home very often. They especially don't lose to the Falcons in New Orleans very often. Since the Superdome became officially sponsored by Mercedes Benz in 2011, the Saints have a 5-2 record against the Falcons at home. They intend to make it 6-2 on Thursday and the crowd will play a huge part in their victory.

The Saints are 4-1 at home this year. The one loss was a Week 1 48-40 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that now looks like a terrible blemish on what has otherwise been a perfect season. Since that loss, they have won by an average of 19.5 points at home and have held teams to just better than 32 percent on third down.

The Superdome crowd will be undoubtedly loud for the rivalry game against the Falcons and that could come affect them greatly. The crowd will need to be loud since Atlanta has the second best third-down conversion percentage in the league with 51.4.