The New Orleans Saints are hosting their bitter rivals the Atlanta Falcons in their week ten matchup. The Saints (3-5) are coming off an impressive Monday night victory against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Falcons (8-0) are the only undefeated team left in the NFL and are in first place in the NFC south. The Saints and Falcons is one of the best rivalries in the NFL and while this game seems to be one-sided it does not mean an upset cannot occur.
I love rivalry games because it always brings the best out of both teams, and this game will definitely be a game that both teams will get up for. This game is a last ditch effort for the Saints in my opinion. If the Saints lose this game they can kiss their playoff chances goodbye for the season and start planning for next year. However, if the Saints can win this game they will still have a small window to make a playoff run. Basically the Saints need to win this game and pretty much the rest of their games to have a shot at the playoffs.
For the Falcons, this game is just another chance to improve on their undefeated season. The Falcons have to feel pretty confident heading into this matchup but that does not mean they take the 3-5 Saints lightly. The Saints would love nothing more than to hand their rivals their first loss of the season and while it will be tough it will not be impossible.
Saints X Factor: The Saints x factor for this week will be the running game. The rushing attack came to life last week as the Saints rushed for 140 yards including 48 yards from the number four running back, Chris Ivory. The Saints should look to establish a ground game as this will ultimately open up the passing game for Drew Brees and the Saints’ talented receivers. Furthermore, the Falcons are ranked 24th in the NFL in rush defense as they give up 127.5 yards per game. The Saints need to take advantage of the Falcons inability to stop the run and if they do it will be a big factor that can help them secure a win.
Falcons X Factor: The Falcons x factor this week is wide receiver Roddy White. White has recently made headlines for bashing the Saints and the city of New Orleans as well as stating that the Falcons will go 16-0. It is time for White to put up or shut up, and I would expect him to have a big game to back up all of the trash he is talking. The Saints’ secondary came up big last week when cornerback Patrick Robinson returned a 99 yard interception for a touchdown. However, we will see this week if the Saints’ defensive outing last week was a fluke. Despite the great game, I still think White will be able to burn the Saints’ secondary and he will be the difference maker for the Falcons.
How the Saints can win this game: The Saints will win this game with an effective ground game and if their defense can give them another impressive performance. It looks like Darren Sproles will miss the week ten contest so Ivory, Pierre Thomas, and Mark Ingram will need to step up again. In addition to the ground game the Saints defense needs to pressure quarterback Matt Ryan and contain wide receivers Julio Jones and White. If the Saints can establish a ground game and slow down Ryan and his star receivers the Saints can win this game.
How the Falcons can win this game: The Falcons will win this game with big games from their stars, Ryan, White, and Jones. It also will not hurt if running back Michael Turner has a big game for the Falcons. This will be a big game for Ryan as he has often been criticized for not stepping up in big moments. This game might not be the biggest game Ryan has ever played but it is against a divisional rival and a win would continue to help the Falcons go for an undefeated season.
Final Prediction: This game could definitely get ugly as the Saints and Falcons are bitter rivals but the game should be entertaining nonetheless. The Falcons are the best team in the NFL right now and are looking to beat the Saints and end their playoff chances. The Saints are looking to stay alive this season and hand their rivals their first loss this season and end their bid for an undefeated season. There is plenty to like about this matchup, but in the end I have to give the Falcons a slight edge. The Saints’ play has been too inconsistent this season and I think the Falcons win this game 28-18.