Falcons at Saints: 3 key matchups

ew season, bigger beard. Falcons offensive lineman Sam Baker has let his beard grow out, sporting some additional length on his chin. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

ew season, bigger beard. Falcons offensive lineman Sam Baker has let his beard grow out, sporting some additional length on his chin. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Three key matchups

VIDEO REPORT — Three keys

Saints DE Will Smith vs. Falcons LT Sam Baker: Baker has been called for four holding penalties, but the Falcons think his issue may be related to the new placement of the umpire. Baker will have to get his hands on Will Smith and keep him from collapsing the pocket as he did last season in New Orleans. Smith had two sacks in that game. He was a disruptive force. Baker and the Falcons were able to contain Smith in the second matchup last season.

Saints S Malcolm Jenkins vs. Falcons QB Matt Ryan: Jenkins is in his first season as a full-time starter and is trying to replace the injured Darren Sharper. Jenkins is a converted cornerback and has one fumble recovery. The 49ers were able to hit some deep passes over the top of the defense Monday night. Ryan has won six of his past nine NFC South starts. He passed for three touchdowns and had a 117.3 quarterback rating last weekend. The Falcons are 10-0 when Ryan has a quarterback rating of more than 100.

Saints RB Pierre Thomas vs. Falcons MLB Curtis Lofton: With Reggie Bush out, the Saints likely will give his carries to the hard-running Thomas. They signed Ladell Betts for depth. Thomas averages only 3.2 yards per carry, but leads the team with 11 receptions. Thomas hopes to have his third game in a row at home against the Falcons with a touchdown rushing and receiving. In the past two games in New Orleans, he has 209 total yards and four touchdowns. Lofton respects Thomas’ style of play and knows he’ll have to account for him in the run game. “I don’t think anybody overlooks him,” Lofton said. “He’s a great back. We’re going to have to bring our pads.”

History lesson

  • Saints coach Sean Payton is 7-1 against the Falcons.
  • This is the 82nd regular-season meeting. The Falcons lead the series 44-37.
  • The Saints own a 17-16 advantage at the Superdome.
  • This is one of the NFL’s best and most underrated rivalries. With the teams entering the league a season apart in the late 1960s, don’t think the Falcons are not upset that the Saints won a Super Bowl trophy first.

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108 comments Add your comment

WR

September 24th, 2010
7:23 am

WR

September 24th, 2010
7:24 am

WR

September 24th, 2010
7:24 am

DLed, what about the secondary against Brees and his receivers especially Colston.

i saw brent grimes

September 24th, 2010
7:33 am

i really like the falcons chances here!

i saw brent grimes

September 24th, 2010
7:35 am

as i remember it last year, it was the saints run game that beat the falcons. they hammered away and it opened up the playaction. im not so scared this time around without bush, they turn into a predictable offense. should be a good one, especially as dominant as the falcons looked last week.

RISE UP!!!

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

September 24th, 2010
8:01 am

17-16 at the Superdome?? I like the Falcons’s chances…close game but Birds by 3!!!

G

September 24th, 2010
8:07 am

I don’t think the Aints can run on this Falcons defense. If Reggie was in I could see him breaking off a long touchdown run but I don’t see them grinding out the run game on us. What about Moore vs. Shockey or Weatherspoon vs. Shockey. That is essentially two rookies that will be matching up with him. I think covering the middle of the field will be our issue this game. Hopefully the Aints short week helps us even out their home field advantage.

D Falcons

September 24th, 2010
8:20 am

I’m cautiously optimistic about this game, but the Falcons must avoid big plays in the running game. Brees will beat you a few times, but you can’t let their RBs break containment the way that we’ve seen twice in the first two games. Hopefully, BVG has made the appropriate adjustments to account for this. The young DBs on each side of the field will be keys, Jenkins for them and more for us. Also, I hope the Falcons do some things to keep the Saints off-balance like passing on first down and spreading the receptions around. They did a good job mixing it up last week, but Matt still needs to spread the wealth better.

FrontRow

September 24th, 2010
8:20 am

The story will be Saints continuing inability to tackle Michael Turner.

The Shockey – secondary matchup will come down to which of the rookies will cause Shockey to lose his cool.

D Falcons

September 24th, 2010
8:22 am

Correction “Moore for us” not more for us, although a big season by Moore could mean “more for us” like getting back to the playoffs.

FrontRow

September 24th, 2010
8:23 am

Jo

September 24th, 2010
8:34 am

Saints by 3 at home and falcons by 10 at home. Was impressed with last week though.

FrontRow

September 24th, 2010
8:56 am

D’led this week’s “5 if’s” column is stellar.

Turner was ready to go last week. Either way (Turner or Snelling) the Saints D has a serious problem against power backs. Looks to me like all the defenders are trying to make the highlight reel stripping the ball.

Hopefully G Williams is emphasizing tackling the ball vs. Turner. Nothing like seeing their secondary being dragged down the field by #33.

SeenThisB4

September 24th, 2010
8:58 am

Reggie Bush has missed 12 games, due to injury, during his Saints career. During those times when he was injured and sitting on the sidelines, the Saints’ offensive production in terms of total yardage and total points is actually higher than with him on the active 45, and the by the way, with Reggie on the sidelines, the Saints are 8-4 while averaging 33.3 points per game during those 12 games.

You know why that is? Cause the other teams start thinking that the Saints offense is dependent on Reggie, that the Saints special teams are slower without Reggie. They think that the Saints offense becomes one dimensional. (All we have to do is put pressure on Brees and we win!) What they don’t realize is that the other Saints players step it up a notch, squeeze a little more effort out of themselves. Let me put it in terms you’ll understand, when Reggie’s out, the other Saints players “Rise-up” to the challenge! LOL! And don’t forget, our injury report list, is a fairly short one.

Think about that, but don’t hurt those feeble falcant cerebral synapses.

GEAUX SAINTS! OUR TIME!!

SimpleDawg

September 24th, 2010
9:01 am

Falcons really need to win this game if they’re going to contend for the playoffs and the NFC South title. Pretenders or contenders? We’ll see on Sunday.

dawgforlife

September 24th, 2010
9:01 am

I feel good about the game, but for a reason I haven’t seen mentioned. The Falcons are a team built on speed, offense and defense. They are built to be extra speedy inside the Dome; so, when they go play the Saints, they are speed taylored for their dome as well. I think the Falcons struggle on natural grass against a big physical team (ie: Pittsburgh) but, in the superdome it will be speed on speed and I believe we are now the faster team

SeenThisB4

September 24th, 2010
9:09 am

dawgforlife: Everyone has speed in the NFL. This isn’t the SEC.

ESSS EEEEE SEAAA!! ESSS EEEEE SEAAA!!

“it will be speed on speed and I believe we are now the faster team.” Isn’t that a contradiction?

I think the difference in the game will come down to execution, and game plan. Saints definitely have the edge on game plan, your Smith is no where near a Sean Payton, and your team, doesn’t have the same discipline that the Saints team has.

Saints will win this one, big.

GEAUX SAINTS! OUR TIME!!

PMC

September 24th, 2010
9:17 am

So it’s settled we’re chipping Will Smith on every passing down AND or rolling protection to Sam Bakers side right?

FrontRow

September 24th, 2010
9:17 am

Actually the Saints D looks slow. J Vilma, their only decent LB – is continually behind F Gore while he was ripping 100+ on them. Alex Smith outrunning the entire d-line multiple times. M. Turner is going to have a field day just like last year.

Maybe they’ll gain a little speed starting the ROOKIE CB.

Saints game plan is always the same – Chuck & Duck. No genius here it’s just a re-hash of the run & shoot and the league has caught on.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 24th, 2010
9:21 am

The term “GEAUX” is banned from this forum. “SeenThisB4″ this is the last time we nicely ask you to refrain from using this term. Future violations will result with actions from the moderator.

PMC

September 24th, 2010
9:23 am

The Falcons D is going to have to stay diciplined in this game to win.

I’m concerned about Payton using their speed against them. They’ve been gashed for big runs 2 weeks in a row.

In addition… PROTECT THE FOOTBALL.

SeenThisB4

September 24th, 2010
9:25 am

Caught on? It’s a copy cat league, of course they have caught on. What they haven’t figured out how to score more points than the Saints.

And by the way, I invite Matt Ryan to pretend he’s a running back, I mean I know Alex Smith was successful at it, (But like he said, “I would have preferred to throw it, but everyone was covered, so I ran for my life!”) Perhaps Matt Ryan thinks he can be the white Michael Vick in Atlanta. Give it a try Matt, give it a try. Trust me, the Saints are too slow to ever catch you.

SeenThisB4

September 24th, 2010
9:26 am

Do you really get your jollies posing as D. Orlando Ledbetter? Really? Tsk, tsk, tsk.

GEAUX SAINTS! OUR TIME!

SeenThisB4

September 24th, 2010
9:29 am

Speaking of D. Orlando Ledbetter: Hey D-Led are you going to do Deke’s and Hebert’s radio show today? If yes, about what time, I don’t want to miss the tone of your interview. Cause last year, man, you sounded pretty hopeless with respect to your team’s prospects in the Super Dome.

GEAUX SAINTS! OUR TIME!!

FrontRow

September 24th, 2010
9:30 am

Don’t think Matt Ryan is going to turn into Turner but it’s nice to know that if you need to escape the plodding Saints d-line can’t catch you.

Besides why Ryan when you have Turner who the Saints CANNOT TACKLE – see my linked post if your not too chicken to look at reality.

Saints can’t tackle Turner. Saints couldn’t tackle Frank Gore. Heck, the Saints can’t tackle Al Gore.

Oh and YOU GO D’LED!

Breesus' small Peesus

September 24th, 2010
9:30 am

Good, that word is so ghetto. Or should I say, bayou? Learn to read!

Falcon52

September 24th, 2010
9:32 am

Enter your comments here

FrontRow

September 24th, 2010
9:33 am

Chuck & Duck will be exposed tonight on Playbook 6:00 PM

Falcon52

September 24th, 2010
9:34 am

It’s all good seen this b4 no one cares y don’t u go on ur own board and rip us we will see Sunday who the better team is

WHO-DAT

September 24th, 2010
9:42 am

From the WHO-DAT NATION: No disrespect the the Falcons or any other team in the league, but truly, this year its “OUR TIME”. We feel we have not done it right until we have done it twice (TWO-DAT) We have set the bar high and we are not going to let nobody sneek up on us or get in our way. We have learned how to play in big games and win. I see another big win inthe Big Easy! WHO-DAT!

SeenThisB4

September 24th, 2010
9:45 am

FrontRow: I know man, Saints can’t tackle Gore or Turner. But the Saints can sure score more points than both of them.

GEAUX SAINTS! OUR TIME!!

FrontRow

September 24th, 2010
10:06 am

Not gonna happen. It was a mistake to give up 28 in the first half but other than that the Chuck & Duck was exposed by the Falcons last year.

Been tripping on Saint’s blogs and I now understand why u guys keep hanging here….alot of doom and gloom + praying for turnovers on the Saints blog must be depressing.

WHO-DAT

September 24th, 2010
10:12 am

From the WHO-DAT NATION: Facons fans, please stop talking about non essential things like who is faster, this player can’t tackle that player, etc.etc.etc., but focus on the word “TEAM” and then and only then will your realize that we are about winning championships not just a game here and a game there. Like SeenThisB4 keep saying, it is “OUR TIME!!

TWO-DAT – GEAUX SAINTS!

FrontRow

September 24th, 2010
10:12 am

Saints game plan:

1. Score 28 while the other team is tying their shoes
2. 2 turnovers per quarter
3. Play against Brett Farve every week.

FrontRow

September 24th, 2010
10:16 am

Sorry WHO-DAT I was just watching real tape of missed tackles.

I will try and refrain from pointing out reality.

FrontRow

September 24th, 2010
10:19 am

dean

September 24th, 2010
10:26 am

Seenthisb4.

Ditto my comment on the other story.

See you Monday.

WHO-DAT

September 24th, 2010
10:33 am

Sorry FrontRow, the reality is maybe that Lombardi skewed your vision because last time I checked the box scores and not the tapes, we win and keep winning. This is the last time I am going to say this, we don’t care about stats, tapes, if this and if that, man we are serious about winning championships (thats plural in championships) See you in the Dome! TWO-DAT!

Chop Buster

September 24th, 2010
10:36 am

Stop the run first! Hold your gaps and watch for the screens. Knock the WRs/TEs off their route (don’t let anyone run by you without being touched). All I know is they better keep after Brees all day long! Sack him, knock him down, knock his passes down, and undercut his passes. This is a slightly improved defense on paper…let’s see it translate to the field against one of the offenses in the league.

Chop Buster

September 24th, 2010
10:37 am

meant “one of the better offenses in the league”.

Big Rod

September 24th, 2010
10:37 am

The Aints had a tough game and have a short week. Meanwhile, the Falcons had an easy game and a full week. We will get the upset as long as the refs don’t take it from us like they did the Vikings in the Championship game.

FrontRow

September 24th, 2010
10:39 am

Like I said reality. In your reality the Saints already won the 2011 SB.

FrontRow

September 24th, 2010
10:39 am

You must be in your mommies basement playing madden 11 on your x box

truth

September 24th, 2010
10:54 am

It really is sad that a team must realiy on turnovers to win.

WHO-DAT

September 24th, 2010
10:55 am

FrontRow, our reality is not that we have won the 2011 SB, our reality is that we have learned that the road to the SB is one game at at time. This game is just one and it happen to be the Falcons. I am trying to be nice here, but outside of the fact that yall are our opponets this week, we really don’t take you that seriously. Lets talk about reality at the end of the season, providing your not too busy watching your tapes. TWO-DAT!

SeenThisB4

September 24th, 2010
11:02 am

What’s really sad is so called professionals who are highly paid, giving up turnovers. That’s what’s really sad. And even worse, to the point of childishness, are opponent fans, who point to the Saints propensity to recover those turnovers, as a poor method for producing wins. What are they suppose to do? Pick them up and hand it back to them?

truth: Don’t make comments like that, it paints you as a very dull child, a mental pygamy. I guess U have to “B”, what U “R”.

GEAUX SAINTS! OUR TIME!!

Falcon Jim

September 24th, 2010
11:15 am

From “yahoo answers’:

Geaux is pronounced go, deriving from the French, also like the word Sioux, pronounced Sue. Although very annoying and illiterate, Who Dat is referring to any other team, usually meaning who else will be beating the Saints.

Falcon Jim

September 24th, 2010
11:18 am

Chop Buster, I think you had it right the first time……………..offensive, for sure.

Dwayne

September 24th, 2010
11:20 am

Falcon fan here. All coaches want to win the turnover battle. That is the truth, I am not a stat man, but I am willing to bet that the team that wins the turn over battle wins..say…60% of the time. No, I am not researching it, I have better things to do with my time. Go Falcons.

Howie Long

September 24th, 2010
11:21 am

I’ll make deal with you taints fans. If the Falcons win, you can’t use that cajun-crap talk anymore. If they lose, I will never post again.

O.K.?