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Saints prep for Falcons, may have Lattimore

06 December 2017

Brian Allee-Walsh is a long-time Saints reporter based in New Orleans.

The Falcons finished November with three straight wins but lost a tough one last week 14-9 to a solid Minnesota team. But, they all didn't leave the weekend that way.

I think Philadelphia will come out more focused for this game than they did against Seattle. But the Vikings would sail out of town with 14-9 victory. This game has major playoff implications in the division and in the NFC.

That game was a bit of shock to the Falcons. Ryan threw four touchdowns.

With conference matchups becoming more relevant and division games affecting the landscape of the playoff race, teams are fighting for division crowns and wild card spots in hopes of continuing their season in January.

Prior to the outcomes of this Sunday's (Week 13) games, one of the two predictive power rankings I like to use has the Saints at #1. Both the Saints and the Panthers have bounced back from losing campaigns, making it the only division to have three teams with winning records. Then they did it again on Sunday. The Saints' defense is much improved this year (11th against the pass). The Saints are yielding just 17.9 points in winning nine of their last 10 games.

Atlanta kept getting into big holes offensively and wound up converting just 1 of 10 chances on third down — an especially glaring stat for a team that was leading the National Football League in that category coming into the game. Moreover, he is just 173 behind the all-time leader, Brett Favre. He had two pass break-ups, but he gave up a late touchdown pass. "We're calling (for) that from a team to see if we can get that even stronger, louder". You'd think with all those numbers that Brees was doing it all himself this season.

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) hurdles over Carolina Panthers cornerback Daryl Worley (26) for a first down during the fourth quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

On the other side, Atlanta are almost giving up 4.5 yards-per-carry and that doesn't bode well when you're about to face the two-headed monster of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. The Saints had drafted Kamara in the third round of the 2017 draft but still signed Peterson to a free agent contract that served to crowd the running backs room with unusual bedfellows.

The trade eased tensions on the sidelines as well. But none are more important than the five-week stretch of games to end the season. Ingram is the steely seven-year vet (he initially bristled at the signing of Peterson) who grounds out tough yards while still having the speed to make defensive backs miss in the open field. His prowess on the field now makes many wonder where the idea for Peterson came from in the first place. Don't be surprised to see another 200-yard game out of Julio. Ingram and Kamara have combined for 1,872 total yards since week six and 20 touchdowns since Week 3.

But they bogged down badly against the Vikings, failing to score a touchdown for the first time in almost two seasons. Then, the rushing game would set up the passing game for Brees. In New Orleans three losses thus far, Ingram has recorded a total of 100 rushing yards.

"We have to turn the page fast to get to New Orleans", Quinn said. They're playing great this year. Their O/U trends are 1-6-1 in their last 8 games vs. NFC South, 1-4 in their last 5 home games, 16-5-1 in their last 22 games vs. NFC, 5-2-1 in their last 8 Thursday games, and 1-4 in their last 5 games following a loss and an ATS loss. Part of that resurgence is due to the acquisition of rookie corner Marshon Lattimore.

"This is a good offense, it's one of our better challenges". But, is expected to return soon.

It's a must-win for both sides but will the Color Rush uniforms look like?

Saints prep for Falcons, may have Lattimore