by Steve Geller, firstname.lastname@example.org,posted Nov 20 2013 8:41AM
The Who Dat Nation roasted some Falcon to open the season, and fans are salivating for some leftovers this week. While the Black & Gold have played fairly consistently and are one of the top teams in the NFL at 8-2, Atlanta hasn't been able to pull out of the tailspin that started in the season opener in the Superdome.
The Saints know all too well though that even though the Falcons are just 2-8 on the year, they would relish nothing more than to beat their division rival. I expect the outcome to be more like the Saints/Cowboys game then the Saints/Niners match-up though.
Prediction: Saints 38 - Falcons 20
Now here's who to watch:
RB Mark Ingram
Since returning to the lineup, Ingram has been putting up solid numbers. In the last 2 games he has rushed for 170 yards, for an average of 8.5 yards per carry. I would have liked to see him get more touches against San Fran, where he got just 6 carries.
The Falcons defense has been gashed by the run all year and is giving up a whopping 133 yards per game to opponents. This would be a great game to give Ingram a truckload of carries to keep boosting his confidence.
WR Marcus Colston
Big congratulations to the Quiet Storm for becoming the franchises' all time leader in yards receiving. It's also great to see him finally putting up Colston-esque numbers in the last 2 weeks, with a total of 12 catches for 187 yards and a score.
In his career, the receiver has torched the ATL for 944 yards and 7 TDs. With Dr. Brees reporting for surgery Thursday night against a failing Falcons secondary, Colston could end up with his 2nd triple-digit receiving yards total of the season.
OLB Junior Galette
Galette has racked up 3 sacks in the last 4 weeks and looks to feast on some Falcon this week. Besides have a turrrrable defense, Atlanta's offensive line has also failed their franchise QB Matt Ryan. The Saints sacked Matty Crushed Ice 3 times in the first meeting of the year and has been taken down a total of 19 times this
season. The Falcons will likely double and triple team Cam Jordan so look for Galette to bring the pain in the Georgia Dome.
TE Tony Gonzlez
While he's been banged up and missing practice this week, this guy has been a pain in the rear for the Saints ever since signing with the Falcons in 2009. He's scored 6 touchdowns against the Black & Gold to go along with 60 receptions for 708 yards.
Yes, he may be close to 100 years old and fighting through injury, but Gonzalez is still someone you have to keep close tabs on. With no Julio Jones in the lineup for Atlanta, and QB Matty Ice running for his life, the future Hall of Fame tight end is a dependable security blanket.
DE Osi Umenyiora
Osi has played in 6 games against the Saints and has managed to sack the QB 4 times. He has been one of the only bright spots on their defense this year and surprisingly still has some juice left in the tank at 32 years old.
Umenyiora has tallied 6.5 sacks this season and will draw much attention from the Saints O-line. He was held to just one tackle in the season opener, but will the Black & gold be able to hold him at bay again?
RB Antone Smith
You may be saying who? Well I was too watching last week's game against the Bucs when Smith ripped off 88 yards and a score on just 2 carries. He should earn an increased workload this week, especially since Steven Jackson just isn't the guy he used to be. Jackson has turned out to be one of the worst free agent signings in 2013.
Smith is 28 years old and went undrafted in 2009 coming out of Florida State. He has just 3 career carries in the NFL, but with the Falcons in desperation mode they could turn to Smith to provide any kind of spark on offense since nothing else has been working.