When the Saints go marching in, the Falcons go cold. Cold as Matty Ice.
Thursday night the New Orleans Saints will face the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons, who boast an NFL best 10-1 record and have yet to lose at home this season, are heavily favored to take the “W.” A look at the recent history of the conference rivalry, however, shows that it won’t take a holy miracle for the Saints to win.
New Orleans has won its last four games against Atlanta, tarnishing the Falcons’ perfect record in week 10. The last time Atlanta beat New Orleans, the Saints were reining Super Bowl champions and Michael “The Burner” Turner still had some gas in the tank.
The Falcons’ feature a high-powered offense led by Matt Ryan, who is emerging as an elite quarterback in the NFL. Out wide the Falcons torch defenses with the dual threat of Roddy White and Julio Jones, who both rank among the league’s top ten in receiving yards. They face a New Orleans defense that allows just under 300 passing yards a game, third to last in the league. Even more staggering is the league-worst 156 rushing yards the Saints allow per game, which should give even 30-year-old Turner plenty of room to run.
The Saints make up for their porous defense with an attack that nets 28 points a game, fifth best in the league and more than the Falcons’ 26.7 points. Drew Brees is an elite quarterback capable of dicing the Falcons’ robust backfield. He has led the Saints to a 5-6 record after losing the first four games this season, a slow start attributable to the suspension of head coach Sean Payton after the Saint’s bounty scandal was exposed.
The game is set to be a high scoring shootout, and the Saints need a win to keep their hopes for a wildcard slot alive.