When the Saints go marching in.
In Bill Blacks song “When the saints go marching In’ there are the lyrics – “When the moon turns red with Blood”. I know of no lunar eclipse scheduled for Thursday night, November twenty ninth, the common cause of the red moon, but there is a National Football League game between true black and blue division rivals, the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints which will not discolor the moon but certainly showcase the ‘bad blood’ these teams have for one another ever since they both entered the league within a year of one another some forty five years ago. The Falcons hold a slight edge in the series, but the Saints have had the better time of this match up the last few seasons winning eleven of the last thirteen.
The Saints are the lone black mark on Atlanta’s record this year, the November 11th game where a second and goal from the one yard line ended the undefeated season and brought the skeptics and a exposed weakness to the national talk shows where respect for the birds is Rodney Dangerfield like.
I have no doubt the Falcons, (every coach, player and fan) would very much like that scenario chance again Thursday night in front of a National audience and in the Dome. I’d bet the moon would turn red with blood if Turner and the Offensive line did not fix that hiccup earlier in the month if given another try.
In that previous meeting it was a marquee tight end match up, with both Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez highlighting a great aerial attack from both offenses and scoring two touchdowns each. It will be interesting to see the defensive homework done to lesson the impact of any repeat performances of the talented tight ends. Having Weatherspoon back after he missed the earlier game should aid Atlanta in this chess match.
Another intriguing player to keep an eye on is Jaquizz Rodgers, who rushed only three attempts the last time these teams squared off but against a very good Tampa rush defense actually matched Doug Martin for the day. (Jaquizz – 10 carries for 49 yards, Martin 21 carries for 50 yards.) We shall discover if J.R is the product of getting him involved in the rushing offense more each game to utilize his elusiveness or was the Tampa game rushing stats a very nice job of the Atlanta defense filling holes in what has been a weak spot most of the year in stopping one of the leagues best rushing weapons in Martin on his home turf.
Actually, both those facts on either side of the ball would be a great holiday gift at this juncture in the schedule to evolve and perfect the Falcons rushing attack and rushing Defense heading into December.
Atlanta has a chance to lock up the NFC South title. They can put a cloud over the diminishing light on the Saints bounty year playoff hopes and they can showcase to a National Audience a team very much equal to any in the league the way true Falcon fans have envisioned such a game every week since the first two games of the season. But there is also more to this match up, a dark side, the southern pride, the divisional old school hard fought rivalry, the trash talk and bad blood motives that have grown in years from games that once did not matter in the standings to venues with playoff implications.
And for payback, of the Monday night December 26th 2011 game where Drew Brees was throwing touchdowns while having a three touchdown lead with two and a half minutes left in the game to break
The single season passing yardage record on national television in front of frenzied fans at the expense of the birds. Brees certainly would have got the record the next week against Carolina but what better way to
Capture that bit of history with a game against rival Atlanta ?
Revenge can be sweet and is not fattening (Quote from Alfred Hitchcock).
The best revenge is massive success. (Quote from Frank Sinatra).
The Saints are on the road and coming to the Dome after getting beat by San Francisco just a few days ago.
They are not the team of a years past, and the falcons know they were one yard of keeping the undefeated season alive in Louisiana. New Orleans is in playoff desperation and the Falcons are tough at home. I’m looking for a different tune Thursday night, and it’s not coming from Bourbon street. It goes,-
“When the moon turns red with blood, and the domed fans scream and shout,
On that Hallelujah Thursday evening, it’s when the Saints go marching Out “.