Saints Falcons Game Preview

This week the New Orleans Saints (2-4) travel to Atlanta (1-5) to face their divisional foes the Falcons. This is a match up of the two worst teams in the division, if not the conference. Both teams have had injury problems this year and both are in serious need of a win this week.

The loser of this game will likely finish last in the division and be one of the leagues greatest underachievers this season. The winner may be able to turn things around if they can sustain the momentum they will receive from defeating a divisional rival. Lets not forget that the Falcons and the Saints have a long rivalry and many consider their opponents today their greatest rivals.

Conference Rankings
Offense
Passing: New Orleans (11) Atlanta (13)
Rushing: New Orleans (9) Atlanta(14)
Scoring: New Orleans (12) Atlanta(14)

Defense
Passing: New Orleans (13) Atlanta (16)
Rushing: New Orleans (6) Atlanta(15)
Scoring: New Orleans (13) Atlanta(14)

When the Saints have the ball:

The Falcons are horrible on defense. If Donte Stallworth, Joe Horn, and Aaron Brooks are going to have a breakout game this year the Falcons are the team to do it against. Ray Buchanan, Ty Williams, and Tod McBride are still veterans with the ability to generate interceptions so the Saints should be careful when passing the ball. Deuce McAlister still has not had his breakout game yet this season. He's averaging just over 20 touches a game though and has a 4.5 ypc average. Getting McAlister the ball 25-30 times against an undersized falcons defense should allow the Saints to control the clock and tire out the Falcons defense.

Defensively the Falcons need some big plays from Keith Brooking, their best player, and their veteran CB's. A well schemed game by Wade Phillips, a vastly underrated defensive coordinator, could also go a long way towards helping the Falcons beat the Saints.

When the Falcons have the ball:

Running on the Saints can be done, and with Kirk Kittner getting his first start the Falcons need to feed the ball to TJ Duckett and let the big back wear down the Saints defenders with his punishing running style. The injury to Sedrick Hodge will likely allow the Falcons to attack the Saints LB's with passes and draws to Warrick Dunn, maximizing his elusiveness. Algae Crumpler also needs to have a big day to help protect Kittner. Peerless Price has not shown the ability to be a number 1 WR yet this year but he does still keep teams honest and if the Falcons can establish a running game early they might benefit with some man coverage situations later in the game. If Price can make 1 or 2 big plays the Falcons can pull off an upset here.

Prediction:

I'd expect a fast game with lots of rushing yards on each side. The Saints talent at WR and experience at Qb should be the difference today. I'd look for the Saints to win 20-10.


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