Saints Set To Brees Through Showdown

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Drew Brees led the Saints to victory over the 49ers last week. Image courtesy of
When Atlanta and New Orleans met in the opening week of the season, it was the Falcons going in as title contenders and the Saints heading back to the future with coach Sean Payton returning to the helm after a league suspension. The Saints held on for a 23-17 win when Roman Harper intercepted Matt Ryan’s tipped fourth-down pass in the end zone with time almost expired. That result seems to have set the tone for both teams with New Orleans steamrolling its way to an 8-2 record to sit atop the NFC South, while their division rival has stumbled to a 2-8 mark.

Atlanta’s season reached its low point last week when a 41-28 defeat at the hands of Tampa Bay gave the Bucs just their second win of the season. It was the Falcons’ fourth loss on the trot and the scary thing is they haven’t even managed to get close in any of those defeats. Their only two wins this season have been at the Georgia Dome and they’ll be making a welcome return home on Friday morning (AEST).

Much of the Saints’ turnaround can be attributed to the team’s defence. Last year it set an NFL record allowing teams an average of 440 yards per game; this season they’re down to 305 yards per game, which is a phenomenal change. In the 23-20 win over San Francisco in Week 11, they held the Niners to 81 rushing yards and forced three sacks.

The offence didn’t quite click against San Fran, but Drew Brees did complete 10 of 14 passes in three fourth-quarter drives, all of which reaped field goals for the home side. It was an important victory for the Saints who hadn’t toppled the Niners in three seasons.

The Southern Showdown has only been played once on Thursday Night Football, and that was last season when Atlanta won 23-13 at home. New Orleans has certainly had the wood on its closest rival winning 12 of the last 15 encounters. Prior to that defeat last season, the Saints had won on its past three visits to Atlanta.


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