“I don’t care what we do as long as we beat Atlanta” has been the motto for years for Saints’ fans. The rivalry dates back almost to the inception of these teams, back when they both were in the cellar of the former NFC West. Of late they have enjoyed battling each other for the top spot of the now NFC South. Regardless of the division name though, there is no love lost.
This year, this game, a win would be that much more sweet for Saints fans for obvious reason. With all that has transpired this offseason and during the season, and even though it is not mathematically impossible to make the playoffs, the Saints might be regulated to “spoiler” status.
Here are my “Fleur de” keys to victory:
- Pressure, Pressure, Pressure: Steve Spagnuolo’s defensive schemes are predicated on the front four getting pressure on the QB. With some new-found confidence in the defensive line, the Saints need to find the right defensive line personnel to create pressure without leaving the defensive backs vulnerable.
DatNOLAgirl take: Play Martz Wilson and Junior Gallete more (speed kills).
- Limit Big Plays: The Atlanta Falcons have major fire power with wideouts Julio Jones (who is actually catching the ball this year) and Roddy “I need a new hairstyle” White. The Saints’ secondary need to play disciplined ball and hopefully not be put into too many one-on-one situations.
DatNOLAgirl take: Patrick Robinson and Jabari Greer need to cover like “red beans on rice”
- TACKLE, TACKLE, TACKLE: Fundamentals of the game…nothing fancy. Good angles, wrap up. I’ve seen Mardi Gras goers make better stops when trying to keep others from getting trinkets (don’t know why we go crazy for the stuff…)
DatNOLAgirl take: TACKLE
- Run the Rock: Chris Ivory provided a spark for the running game. His performance even seemed to energize first rounder, Mark Ingram (who has not lived up to his draft position). Given that the Falcons’ are weak at stopping the run, a good rushing attack will make Drew Brees and the passing game more effective.
DatNOLAgirl take: Give the Falcons heavy doses of “Shrimp poboy Award Winner”, Pierre Thomas, “I’m good enough to start” Chris Ivory, and “I’m not a Bama Buster” Mark Ingram.
- Drew and Krewe Recognition: Atlanta Falcons like to show a lot of different looks defensively to disguise their coverage and blitz packages. Drew Brees and receivers need to be on the same page in order to capitalize.
DatNOLAgirl take: Look for Sir Lance-alot “Mr Clutch” Moore, Marques “Quiet Storm” Colston and Jimmy “I play Big” Graham to exploit matchups.
- Win the Turnover Battle: The Saints don’t need to give the Falcons any extra possessions. As a Saint’s fan, which side of the ball would you rather see on the field more? Surely not the defense.
DatNOLAgirl take: Keep the “right” record setting portion of the team on the field.
- Rock the Dome: This year the superdome has not been the Saints’ cloak of invincibility but it can. New Orleans have some of the most fanatical fans ever and the support needs to be dangerously deafening, devilishly distracting and diabolically dominating.
DatNOLAgirl take: “Oh how I want to be in that number…”
Even though the Falcons hold the overall lead in the regular season at 45-40 but these games are always close and this will be no exception. For now the Saints will hold the trump card in this battle because they have the one thing the Falcons don’t:
The ultimate prize possession (and bragging rights)…a World Championship.