Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints Preview: The Big One


In Week 15, the Atlanta Falcons dropped a game to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Still, the team is in control of its own playoff destiny and with Sunday comes the biggest game of the season for Matt Ryan and the Dirty Birds. The Falcons travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints–who also control their own destiny–in what could be the biggest game of the season for both teams.

Opponent: New Orleans Saints

Time/TV: 1:00 pm ET, FOX

Falcons Offense vs. Saints Defense

This should be a fun one for Matt Ryan and his respective weapons on offense–hopefully Julio Jones as well. The Saints have a terrible defense all around, and are 26th in the league in passing yards as well as 19th in rushing yards allowed. Both Jones and Roddy White have battled injury issues this week, but to this point, the assumption (a bold one) is that both will play and that would be huge for Ryan and company.

During the first week of the season, Ryan threw for 448 passing yards–essentially having his way with the team. Jones also led both teams with 116 receiving yards. The Saints rank outside the top 25 in the NFL in both rushing yards allowed (132.9) and passing yards allowed (257.1), making this a prime opportunity for Atlanta’s offense to explode despite the fact that this game is taking place in the SuperDome.

More from Atlanta Falcons

Falcons Defense vs. Saints Offense

The Saints offense on the other hand, has been much better. Drew Brees has led the team to the No. 3 passing offense in the league, while Mark Ingram has been effective enough for the team to be the No. 9 rushing offense in the NFL.

The Saints are coming off of a dominant victory against the Chicago Bears, where Brees dropped 375 passing yards, and this looks to be a team rounding into form at an inopportune time for Atlanta.

Still, the team did play on Monday, and having a shorter week coming into the game might affect them in a manner that helps the Falcons. At the same time, Jimmy Graham is back and as good as ever–and he’s just as dynamic as Jones is for Brees and company.


It cannot be understated how important this game is for the Atlanta Falcons. With a win against the Saints, Atlanta just has to beat Carolina at home in week 17 to secure a run in the playoffs, and that while that seems crazy to utter with a 5-9 record, it is the reality we are faced with at this point.

Stay tuned for post-game coverage, and a live game thread that will post on Sunday morning. In addition, be sure to follow ATL All Day for the latest on the Atlanta Falcons.