This week we had a chance to talk with Andrew Juge of Saints – Nation. Who was kind enough to have a sit down with us to discuss the upcoming NFC South battle between the Falcons and Saints. Be sure to check out Saints Nation and follow them on Twitter.
BD – The Saints are looking pretty darn good right now. What if anything has changed about your team, since the first time we met up 6 weeks ago?
SN – I’d say Brees has caught fire and he’s operating on an even higher level of efficiency. He’s had no picks in 5 straight games now, so the offense is gaining tons of yards and scoring in bunches. He’s currently in that “zone” you’ll see elite quarterbacks get in sometimes where they just can’t be stopped.
BD – Heading into the postseason, which NFC team do you fear New Orleans playing the most?
SN - Pretty easy answer there, the Packers in Green Bay. I truly believe the Saints can beat any opponent, road or home though. Not saying they will win it all, but I’m hopeful going in any matchup. Hopefully the Saints can avoid the Packers till the NFC Championship. I’ll tell you who I’d LOVE to face in the playoffs: the Bears.
BD – Something that gets overlooked given the Julio Jones deal was your move to acquire Mark Ingram. You guys gave up a 2nd and next years first for a position that usually has a short shelf life in the NFL. What are your thoughts on the move? and how good do you think Ingram can be in the future?
SN – Ingram has been out a few weeks with turf toe and probably won’t play Monday either. Which is fine, since Chris Ivory offers similar ability. Overall I think the Saints move was defensible, but Ingram as a rookie hasn’t been as good as I’d hoped. He’s been solid, but not as special his college career might suggest. I will commend him for coming in as a rookie and making an immediate impact while Ivory was on PUP. If he can stay healthy, which isn’t currently the case, he’s so young I’m definitely hoping he can develop into a star.
BD – If the Saints beat the Falcons on Monday, by a tight margin again and then were to face each other in the playoffs for the third time in the same season. Do you think New Orleanscould sweep the Falcons given how close are games usually are and the general rule of thumb that it is very very difficult to beat a team 3 times in the same season?
One of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard is “it’s really hard to beat a team 3 times in a season”. I hate that the media foams at the mouth to drop that cliché every year. Please. If youve already beaten someone twice, are you really going to try to sell that the losing team has the mental advantage on the road? No, I don’t buy that at all. I knowAtlantawon in NOLA last year but playing in the Superdome remains one of the biggest advantages in football. In the end I feel good about beatingAtlanta, even more so at home. The Falcons are a very good and balanced team, though, so the Saints will absolutely have to play their best. I believe they will.
BD – Drew Brees has obviously had a good year. How do the Falcons go about slowing him down?
SN – I’m not sure you can right now. He gets rid of the ball too quick to consistently apply pressure, so blitzing actually makes things worse. I tell this to all opposing bloggers: because Brees passes so much you’ll get 2-3 chances each week at tough interceptions. Your D has to make that spectacular catch when the time comes. If you drop that int, Brees will make you pay on the very next play. You’ve got to make the most of your chances to get off the field. I also think the Saints pass way too much even when teams dare them to run. So I think you drop 7-8 in coverage at all times and allow the Saints to freely run on you in hopes they won’t take what you give them.
BD – What needs to happen for Atlanta to win the game?
SN – The aforementioned turnover chances are key to capitalize on. On offense you run the clock by pounding Turner to set up the play action, draw the Saints in and you can beat them vertically. Their cover corners are decent but the linebackers struggle mightily in coverage so there’s lots of opportunities for Jacquizz and Gonzalez in the passing game. And hope Brees cools off even a little.
BD – What do you think the score is going to be? See it being as close as last time?
SN – No. The Saints are on fire right now and untouchable in the Superdome this year. Saints 37 Falcons 24