What it Will Take to Beat the Saints
November 11, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) against the New Orleans Saints during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Falcons 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Despite the 7-9 record, the bad defense, and all the trash talking I like to periodically spew, the New Orleans Saints are a very dangerous and talented football team. When I first thought when I saw the schedule was disappointment when I saw that Atlanta wouldn’t at least have a cushion of a few wins before they went into the superdome.
My recent 10 Reasons the Saints Will Lose post was, in fact, just for reactions. Now I’m being serious. It is very difficult to defeat the saints at any time let alone in Louisiana. I’ll be honest when I say the first time I saw the schedule I was disappointed to find the Falcons couldn’t at least build a cushion behind them before taking on the Saints. The game in New Orleans is always a very difficult game and will be again. The Falcons have the tools to beat any team in the league, but it won’t be easy.
Stop the Pass. This is the most polarizing and complicated suggestion when talking about how to beat the Saints. I joke about Drew Brees being in his decline, but let’s be honest: A decline for Brees is 4800 yards and over 12 interceptions. As much as you can scheme your way to success, Drew Brees will still pass for a large amount of yards and a score or so. That’s just how good he is. Not to mention having to stop Colston and Grahm. Atlanta has a better total passing attack, but New Orleans is pretty damn hard to beat. Especially with questions at covering tight ends. Umenyiora, Biermann, Babineaux, and whoever else Nolan will want to throw at him have to do a good job at rushing the passer. It’s not a choice. Asante Samuel and whatever linebacker is covering Grahm have to lock down coverage and Desmond Trufant has to be good enough to take on the rest of the passing attack.
Stop the Run. The Saints aren’t quite as well known for the running game as they are with their passing attack, but Sproles is a little engine out there. He fast, powerful, and a good receiver. Linebackers and defensive lineman have to establish a no run policy early to keep the saints one dimensional. As good as Brees is, it’s much better if the saints are only passing.
Pound the Rock. Rob Ryan is a talented coordinator, but he’s not striking any fear into my heart. I’m not convinced that a successful defense in Dallas is to his credit so much as it is the athletes they had. The 3-4 should help the saints out a little bit, but I doubt their defense will be good again. The 3-4 is designed to add pressure. I have no doubt they will be able to do so. Especially with questions at right tackle, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on Matt Ryan. The 3-4, however, is not a very good run defense. Keep pounding away with Steven Jackson and Matt Ryan shouldn’t have to throw for 400 yards again.
Score More. A lot of times when two offensive power houses meet, the winner is simply the team that can score more points. There is no way this game is a blow out. Drew Brees and the Saints offense will most likely score at least 20 points. What the falcons have to do is score at least 21. It’s a lot easier said than done. Both of these teams don’t have many problems on offense. Neither team is spectacular on defense. It’s plain and simply going to be a shoot out. Will the Falcons be able to outscore New Orleans? I think so, but they’ll have to play a very good game.