This weekend the Falcons travel to New Orleans to take on the division rival Saints. Though the Saints are having a relatively down year they are still a threat to the Falcons’ perfect season. This is a division game and strange things have been known to happen when these teams play.
New Orleans comes into this game with an offense led by Drew Brees who has led them to 386.4 yards and nearly 30 points a game. The majority of these yards come through the air as the Saints’ rushing attack has only managed 81 yards a game thus far. This offense will prove to be a challenge for the Falcons’ defense as they always are, but I believe that under Mike Nolan’s direction the unit will be up to the task of slowing down Drew Brees and the Saints.
On the other side of the ball the New Orleans Saints have struggled all season. This is a great opportunity for Matt Ryan and the rest of the Atlanta offense to rack up some yards and put up some points. New Orleans is allowing 471.2 yards per game and the Atlanta offense will be poised to attack this defensive weakness. Because this is a division game I expect Dirk Koetter and the other coaches to keep things relatively vanilla seeing as the Falcons will face the Saints a second time later in the season. One thing that I do expect them to make use of though is a package that I have noticed in several games this season. The Falcons offense comes out in the typical I-formation, but rather than having Michael Turner at halfback he moves up to fullback and Julio Jones plays halfback. I have seen several interesting plays out of this formation and enjoy the creativity that it demonstrates. I imagine that Koetter will call for this formation at some point during the game. Other than this package though, I expect the Falcons’ offense to play a fairly straightforward game. This does not mean that the Falcons will pull back on the reins at all. Instead they will try not to give the Saints any game film with which to prepare for the second game. I still expect the Falcons to attempt several deep, explosive plays downfield to take advantage of the Saints’ weak defense.
This game holds importance as it is a chance to beat the hated Saints in New Orleans and continue the perfect season that the Falcons are enjoying so far. I don’t think that the Saints’ defense will be able to contain the Falcons’ offense and though Drew Brees will be able to move the ball it will not be enough to put the Saints on top. I have the Falcons winning this game 31-24.