New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons
When: Thursday, Nov. 29, 8:20 p.m.
Where: Georgia Dome
TV: NFL Network
The Saints are trying to come back after their setback from Sunday night’s loss to the 49ers. They were victimized by two interceptions for touchdowns in their 10 point loss. Even with the loss, New Orleans is only one game back of a playoff berth. They are one of six teams fighting for the last spot right now. The Saints are in a must win situation for the rest of the season. There is a good chance that tie-breakers will determine at least one of the teams for the final spot, so every win will count. The Saints survived a goal line stand against the Falcons a couple of weeks ago to give Atlanta their first loss. Now they are trying to duplicate that feat by beating the NFC South leaders on the road.
Atlanta has been surviving week to week with close victories. They have a game and half lead over the 49ers, for the best record in the NFC, and they are in a good position to secure home field advantage in the next couple of weeks. The Falcons have not beaten the Saints in the last three games. This could be a statement game for Matt Ryan, and the Falcons. The Falcons should be commended for winning the close ones. Some teams get more credit when they lose than Atlanta does for a win.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints offense had a rough time against the 49ers defense on Sunday. They must regroup and get back to their efficient ways. Drew Brees threw two interceptions that led to 14 points. Those two plays altered the game, and played a major factor in the loss for the Saints. New Orleans will use their potent running game to take advantage of Atlanta’s defense. There’s no doubt that the Falcons will be focused on Drew Brees and the passing game. Even with the game pressure, Drew and the receivers must produce when the opportunities allow.
The defense has been much better as of late, and they seem to be getting better every day. The Saints will have to play for well for the whole game. The biggest plays will be made in the red zone. This is where New Orleans needs to force field goals. They’ll have to watch for the deep ball with Julio Jones and Roddy White. Forcing Matt Ryan to turn the ball over is not going to guarantee a win, but it will greatly increase the chances. The Saints know they can make plays against Atlanta, so when the opportunity arises, they must pounce on the situation.
They are the number two passing team in the league, but the Falcons don’t run the ball very well. Matt Ryan is going to need help with the ground game. Keeping the ball away from Brees could be just as important to a Falcon’s win as hitting with a quick strike offense. Even when Matt Ryan is not having a great game, he has the ability to make big plays in the fourth quarter. There’s a reason why the Falcons continue to win these close games. If he’s able to make another game winning drive against the Saints, Ryan could be in line for the MVP.
The defense will have its hands full with the Saints on Thursday. They’ll have to play their best game of the season to come away with the victory. This game could turn into a shootout quickly if they aren’t careful. They must play the deep ball very well against the Saints. Whichever defense reacts to adversity better will be have the better chance of winning. They should look for the Saints to establish the run early. The Falcons need to be able to control the ground game with the front four. That’s the best way to stop the passing attack by New Orleans.
For some reason, the Saints are going to come out stronger in the first half. They do need this game more than Atlanta, but the Falcons have a chance to knock New Orleans down a peg. It just feels like New Orleans had a minor setback last week, and they are ready to throw more punches at the playoff race.
New Orleans Saints 31
Atlanta Falcons 28