It’s that time of the year again…
The time of the year where Saints and Falcons fans can indulge in the good ole’ fashion hate they have for each other. The Falcons fly to New Orleans for the first of its annual two meetings against Drew Brees and a 3-5 Saints team that feels they’re on the verge of a turn-around. The die-hard Falcons fan in me always comes out whenever these two teams meet…It’s a bitter feud that’s been picking up steam since the Vick vs. Brooks days, and while we lead the series historically, Drew Brees has had the Falcons number of late. The Saints swept the series last year and it left a bitter taste in many ATLiens mouth. These games mean a lot to each team’s fans, so you can expect a playoff-like atmosphere every meeting. You can also expect nothing less than the best effort out of both of these teams, and with the Saints trying to get hot, the fans can expect a fast-paced, high-scoring affair.
One thing that stands out when you scout the 2012 Saints is their statistically HORRIFIC defense. They allow over 450 yards a game! Steve Spugnolo was expected to turn this defense into a top-ten unit, but instead, they are on pace to being acknowledged as one of the worst in the history of the NFL, allowing just under 300 yards passing and over 170 yards rushing a game. But, since Vilma’s return, they’ve played with a lot of fire, especially against the Eagles. Will Smith and Cameron Jordan accounted for 5 of the team’s 7 total sacks this past Monday night, staying in Vick’s face for just about the entire game. The Saints defensive line likes to play fast, and will look to be disruptive against an O-line that has over-achieved to this point. Still, this is a defense that has gotten TORCHED on the ground and through the air…Peyton Manning threw for over 400 yards and put up 3 touchdowns against this secondary. I know Manning’s no slouch, but Ryan is just as cerebral as Peyton and he has more weapons at his disposal. I expect Ryan to put similar if not better stats than Manning did. To be honest, I don’t know how Drew Brees was able to pull out three wins with this defense.
Even though the Saints defense has been horrendous to say the least, Drew Brees still puts up huge numbers in the passing game. They average over 300 yards through the air, but their run game is ranked near the bottom. This team lives and dies with the performance of Drew Brees. The lack of balance on offense has hurt the Saints the entire season. With that being said they still have enough weapons on offense to give any secondary problems. Lance Moore, Marques Colston, and Jimmy Graham are matchup nightmares, plus, Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory, and Pierre Thomas are starting to make a nice one-two-three punch. The Saints rushed for over 100 yards against the Eagles, and they know they must play a balanced game if they hope to stand a chance against the Falcons. But,
Mike Smith knows these are the most important games of the season for Falcons fans.
Matt Ryan and Dirk Kottier should be salivating at the thought of facing a defense that has performed this bad. Atlanta has enough weapons to cause problems of their own, and if the run game gets going, they could put up a ton of points. In addition to our offense, our defense has played very well, and I’m sure Nolan will have some exotic blitzes drawn up to throw Drew Brees off his game.
Still, Drew Brees has had the Falcons number lately. When the two teams last met, Brees assassinated the Falcons defense. He threw for 4 touchdowns and broke Dan Marino’s single season passing record. That was a sad, sad day for me and many other Dirty Bird followers…I think it’s all the more reason for the coaching staff to hold nothing back when they meet in the Mercedes-Benz dome for the 87th time. Like I mentioned earlier, the last beatdown Drew Brees gave the Falcons left a bitter taste in EVERY Falcons fan’s mouth, so revenge in the form of a blowout would be a nice, cold dish to serve these Saints on their home turf.