The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints just don’t like each other period. Usually, these two teams are fighting it out for playoff positioning but this season is a far different story.
The Saints are in the running for home-field advantage while the Atlanta Falcons are clearly playing for pride at this point.
This looks as if the Saints are going to run away with the game but rivalry games are different. There’s a different energy in the stadium and if the Falcons want to make this competitive or even come out with a win, they must win the following matchups.
These two have one of the best wide receiver/cornerback rivalries in the NFL. Julio finds a way to get his touches and yards. Now that the Falcons have more weapons on offense like Austin Hooper and Calvin Ridley, he might not get the number of looks he’s used.
Any chance Matt Ryan has to get Julio the ball, he must take advantage and get it to him. Julio seems to have some pretty good games against the Saints so let’s see if it continues.
Dan Quinn vs Sean Payton
On paper, this is not even a discussion but yet this is a very important matchup. Quinn and his coaching staff have been outcoached all season especially on the defensive side of the ball. Payton, on the other hand, has one of the best teams in the NFL and was able to keep the team afloat while Drew Brees was out.
Will Quinn do something different this week to catch Payton off guard or will the trend continue for the underperforming head coach.
Calvin Ridley vs Eli Apple
With the majority of attention being on Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley has to step up in the biggest way possible. His matchup against Eli Apple is just as big as the Lattimore/Jones matchup.
Last season he torched the Saints with 146 yards and three touchdowns. Will Apple be able to keep him in check especially because Ridley is due for a big game.
Falcons O line vs Marcus Davenport and Cameron Jordan
Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport have a combined 11 sacks this season, 8 of which belong to Jordan. Will the offensive be able to slow Jordan down? This could be a situation where the Falcons might have to put two men on him.
If they shift their focus to Jordan, will they be able to handle a one on one matchup with the highly athletic Marcus Davenport?
If they are able to neutralize this pass rush, the Falcons have a chance to get an upset. If not, it’s gonna be a long day for Matt Ryan.