Saints Aim For Lights Out In Georgia

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Drew Brees will have to fire for the Saints to beat the Falcons. Image courtesy of
Just three weeks ago New Orleans ended any thoughts Atlanta had of building a perfect 16-0 season, banking a 31-27 win at the Superdome. The NFC South rivals face off again on Friday at the Georgia Dome, a venue where Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has won 31 of his 35 career starts.

The Saints started the season poorly, losing four straight high-scoring encounters, including back-to-back defeats by woeful Carolina and Kansas City. They’ve gone 5-2 since then, but they were outplayed by Colin Kaepernick and the surging 49ers. Drew Brees threw for 261 yards and three touchdowns against the Niners’ much vaunted defence, but his offensive line still couldn’t give him the necessary protection.

The clash with San Fran kicked off a tough four-game stretch, which will decide whether Brees and Co. reach the postseason. Following their match-up with the Falcons, they travel to New York for a date with the Giants, before hosting the improving Buccaneers. If they can win two of their next three, the Saints close with games against the Cowboys and Panthers, which might allow them to sneak in to the playoffs.

Ryan’s record in his home dome is outstanding, but Brees does have an 11-2 lifetime record against Atlanta. When these teams met in Week 10, the Saints’ Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez from the Falcons became the first set of tight ends to have at least 120 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the same game.

Atlanta isn’t quite in the same form it was during its unbeaten run to start the season. The Falcons let the struggling Cardinals get out by 13 at home in Week 11, only to reel them in, while the one-point win over Tampa Bay last weekend was less than convincing. In saying that, since Week 6, the Bucs lead the NFL in scoring (32.6 points per game), so the Falcons did at least keep Josh Freeman and his offence quiet enough to get the ‘W’. 

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