Atlanta Falcons: Falcons could damage Saints faint playoff hopes

Saints RB Chris Ivory stiff arms Falcons CB Dunta Robinson en route to his 56-yard TD run. (Associated Press)

Saints RB Chris Ivory stiff arms Falcons CB Dunta Robinson en route to his 56-yard TD run. (Associated Press)

FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons could put one of the final nails in the Saints’ bounty-season-from-woe coffin with a victory Thursday night at the Georgia Dome.

From the start of the season, the Saints have been in scramble mode without their head coach, Sean Payton. They lost their first four games, but scrambled back onto the fringes of the NFC playoff picture and are 5-6 this season.

The last team the 10-1 Falcons, who are tied for the best record in the NFL, would like to see in the divisional round of the playoffs is their nemesis, the Saints.

The Falcons are aware of the circumstances, but aren’t motivated by the thought of delivering the Saints’ frail playoff hopes a near-death blow.

“Not really,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “I don’t think you can worry about what other people have going on. We have enough issues ourselves.”

The Falcons have been ever so polite before this matchup after there was a lot of bickering and trash-talking before, during and after the last meeting Nov. 11.

The Falcons apparently asked wide receiver Roddy White not to speak much this week. He’d expressed his disdain for the Saints and the city of New Orleans before the last matchup and after the 31-27 loss said the Falcons “gave” the game to the Saints.

The Saints’ victory wasn’t secure until Malcolm Jenkins swatted down a pass in the end zone intended for White with 1:42 to play.

The Saints, who have owned the Falcons recently, took umbrage with White’s notion that the game was a pre-Christmas gift.

“I can’t see why he would say something like that,” Jenkins told the New Orleans media Tuesday. “We made the plays we needed to make the win the game. I don’t think they necessarily gave it to us. I thought we made some big plays.

“I know they were frustrated, not being able to make a couple of third-and-ones, to be able to run the ball, things like that they’re used to doing.”

The Saints have won 11 of the past 13 games and five of the past six at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons lead the series overall 45-41.

“They are a really good team,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “They are better than what their record shows. They have a very explosive offense and a lot of playmakers on defense.”

The Saints would have to make an improbable climb to reach the playoffs.

Behind the division leaders, Green Bay (7-4), Tampa Bay (6-5), Seattle (6-5) and Minnesota (6-5) all have better records than the Saints. The Saints are back in the 6-5 pack with Washington, Dallas and Minnesota.

The Falcons need a win and a Tampa Bay loss or tie against Denver to clinch the NFC South title and a playoff berth. They also would clinch with a tie and a Tampa Bay loss.

The Falcons can clinch a playoff berth with a win and a Seattle loss or tie. They also would clinch with a tie, a Seattle loss and a Minnesota loss.

“That’s all on the horizon,” Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud said. “We’re not too focused on that right now.”

The Falcons should receive a boost from the return of linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. He missed the Nov. 11 game with an ankle injury.

“It was the game that I chose to watch last night,” Weatherspoon said Tuesday. “I kind of watch a game a night during the week. It was kind of tough not being out there but, I have a great opportunity to be a part of it this time.”

Smith is expecting a different matchup this time around.

“We’re a different team,” Smith said. “They’re a different team. At this time of the year you’re going to have different guys coming in and out of the lineup because of attrition through injuries.”

As far as all of the banter, Smith has blocked it out. He calls it “noise.”

“I’m not meaning it to be taken the wrong way, but there’s noise before every game,” Smith said. “It starts on the Tuesday if the game’s on Sunday and there’s noise that goes on outside of the building. It’s part of the process leading up to the football game. … We don’t listen to it. We don’t concern ourselves with it.”

Bring on the noise.
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86 comments Add your comment

wayne

November 29th, 2012
7:18 am

Hey can anyone tell me if a local network is showing the game? I like so many others do not get NFL network.

Jim

November 29th, 2012
7:20 am

Noise-whoever makes the most noise tonight will win this one.

dean

November 29th, 2012
7:27 am

As Tony G said yesterday in reference to their propensity for winning close, just win. 1 point or 20 points. It doesn’t matter. Just win.

okeetee

November 29th, 2012
7:33 am

Frankly, I don’t think this game is going to be close. It’s pay back time for the Falcons and this team is capable of a big payback! I think we’ve got this running game thing just about straighten out and I don’t anticipate anymore pathetic 1 yard runs from Turner….because we won’t be handing the ball off to him anymore in those circumstances! Our offensive is more explosive with the other two guys in the backfield and that’s why we should slap at least 30 points on the Ain’ts tonight, no problem!

atlfalconsfan0125

November 29th, 2012
7:46 am

CW-69 should be showing it in Atlanta.

mtgummibear

November 29th, 2012
7:46 am

Wayne…Its supposed to be on CW 69 as far as local TV. I know I shouldn’t say this…the whole superstition thing…but I just don’t see anyway the Falcons lose this game. But I honestly felt the same way going into the Superdome so I had better do what coach Smith inferred…just shut up and watch the game!!

atlfalconsfan0125

November 29th, 2012
7:48 am

Enter your comments here

atlfalconsfan0125

November 29th, 2012
7:49 am

shesoleo

November 29th, 2012
7:53 am

I could care less about the noise the players and coach Smith is referring to, the noise I want to hear is from the fans in the stands. If ever there was a time for the fans to RISE UP, that would be tonight at the GA DOME.Not just sometimes but on every single snap the Aint’s have the ball, lets go FALCON NATION this is our time to show up and show out. Lets represent the ATL like never before.

Just Asking?

November 29th, 2012
7:55 am

Falcons, do your talking on the field and let us do the talking here.

Getaway

November 29th, 2012
7:56 am

Hey atlfalconsfan0125, heard you were banned from NFCS blog. I have been too and I haven’t done any of the things that are supposed to get you banned.I post as Falc0nzRBack, BTW.

4BsihTneeS

November 29th, 2012
8:08 am

I hear that some plucking fal can’t fans egged the Sain ts team bus last night. Probably falcon eggs, dimwits. This…scourge…must…stop!

Operation Payton Freedom continues tonight with a shock and awe Saint aerial attack on tap!

S A I N T S 38
F A L C A N T S 20

wayne

November 29th, 2012
8:11 am

Thanks to those on the network showing the game. I had looked on the TV guide and didn’t see it listed. Go Falcons.

Jimmy Crack

November 29th, 2012
8:13 am

Beat the STINK out of that sewer of a team. Send them packing hurt and embarrassed back down to their broken water treatment plant of a city.

Their trolling fetid fans deserve no less.

Loyal Falcon

November 29th, 2012
8:14 am

@ THE FALCONS DEFENSE….DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TACKLE HIGH!!!! I REPEAT! DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TACKLE HIGH!! If we get back to the fundamentals we’ll be just fine.

SimpleDawg

November 29th, 2012
8:17 am

4BsihTneeS

November 29th, 2012
8:19 am

I hear some plucking fal can’t airport employees egged the Saint Team bus last night! LOL! Probably used some falcon eggs. Just a sign of exasperation from years of being dominated. LOL! Wouldn’t be surprised to hear that it was MRyan throwing those eggs, since most of them missed their mark.

S A I N T S 38
f a l c a n t s 20

4BsihTneeS

November 29th, 2012
8:21 am

Maybe Dumbta Robinson will try throwing eggs at Chris Ivory this time when he runs right by him again! LOL!

Mike is Back

November 29th, 2012
8:38 am

Dled, the BIRDS are taking the right approach…going into this game…these guys know this is a HUGE game…I think advantage us with SPOON playing this game…However, MS gon have to go after Brees.

If you look at the teams that given Brees trouble…it’s the teams that can get early pressure on him…before he gets a chance to survey the defense…delayed blitzes doesn’t have nowhere near the affect as early pressure…we got to go after Brees!

RISE UP BIRDS…BEAT THEM FRIGGIN AINT’S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1998 Was Our Year

November 29th, 2012
8:43 am

I’m not worried about this game, just win this game, and get this monkey off our backs, or loose it and keep being the Season-Champions we have been for the 3yrs.

hahahahaha

November 29th, 2012
8:44 am

Win or lose the septic tank aints aint making the playoffs.

Go Falcons!

45-41, aints can stfu till they catch tfu.

Preston Thompson

November 29th, 2012
8:52 am

I think the noise Smitty was talking about this time is the sound of eggs cracking. Man was that class less. Who in their right mind would do something like that?

3rd and 1 is going to continue to be a killer if the Falcons expect Turner to get it done. I still want to see what Antoine can do. He is just so fast.

Esquire

November 29th, 2012
8:53 am

It’s another Throwback week for the Falcons — their second of the season — and that means the team will be wearing red helmets, black jerseys and white pants for Thursday night’s game against the Caints.

AS

November 29th, 2012
8:53 am

Wayne- It is being aired locally with the metro Atlanta area.

Esquire

November 29th, 2012
8:58 am

I swear DLed you are a Caint’s fan…………..it just oozes out of how you write.

Esquire

November 29th, 2012
8:59 am

……………not to mention the pic you choose to accompany your story.

Esquire

November 29th, 2012
9:00 am

5-6-7-8
Everywhere we goooO,
Everywhere we goooO,
People wanna knooOw,
People wanna knooOw,
Who we aaa are,
Who we aaa are,
So we tell theem, So we tell theem,
We are the FALCONS!! We are the FALCONS!!
MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS, MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS !!
OHH AHH OHH YEEAHH

econaggie

November 29th, 2012
9:04 am

This is a must win game for the Falcons. Yeah, I said it, a must win game for a team that is 10-1. If the Falcons can’t beat their disrespectful rivals in the Dome then how do we beat Da Bears or any other caliber team in January. Let’s show these aints who rules the roost in the ATL. Treat em to some chili dogs, onion rings and a frosted orange with a side of egg salad fresh from Hartsfield-Jackson.

As for the game, Witherspoon playing will save a TD, I say 27-24 Falcons. Ryan will throw 2 TDs and a pick. Running game will be held under 100 but we will score and Bryant misses his first FG but drills his final 2.

Dirty Birds Fly High

Hot Boy for Life

Bring it Domineaux

Esquire

November 29th, 2012
9:06 am

NFL Power Ranking
#1 Falcons (10-1, +1): Atlanta escaped by the skin of their teeth yet again, but beating one of the NFL’s hottest teams on the road is no small task.
#2 Texans (10-1, -1): It took nearly ten quarters for Houston to beat teams with a combined record of 6-16. They’re still coasting to a first round bye, but what has happened to the vaunted Wade Phillips defense the past couple weeks?
#3 49ers (8-2-1, NC): Just like the Falcons, San Francisco put an end to a winning streak on the road. The dynamic play of Colin Kaepernick combined with their incredible defense makes this team a scary foe in January.
#4 Patriots (8-3, NC): There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned Patriot butt kicking. They run up the score like a 14 year old that has been playing Madden 13 for way too long.
#5 Broncos (8-3, +1): Denver brought their “C” game to Kansas City and still coasted. Absolutely nobody wants to see this team in the playoffs with how they’re playing on both sides of the ball.
#6 Ravens (9-2, -1): It took a 4th and 29 miracle to put San Diego out of their misery. They haven’t looked like an elite team for months, yet they keep on winning.
#7 Giants (7-4, +2): Classic Giants. Just when you think they’re struggling, they put a hurting on a team and remind everyone that they’re the defending champs.
#8 Bears (8-3, NC): Chicago’s blowout win over Minnesota was costly thanks to six injuries to key players. It pains me to say it, but Jay Cutler simply makes this team better. His quick throws into small windows can make his offensive line actually look passable.
#9 Packers (7-4, -2): You can’t win when you can’t keep your quarterback upright. Green Bay needs to block and scheme better if they want to hang with the league’s best.
#10 Colts (7-4, +3): If the playoffs started today, Andrew Luck would visit Peyton Manning in the Wild Card round. That might garner some national attention.
#11 Buccaneers (6-5, NC): Tough loss for the Bucs. Their schedule isn’t doing them any favors down the stretch either. Tampa heads to Denver, New Orleans, and Atlanta for their last three road games.
#17 Caints (5-6, -2): The loss to San Francisco might mean that their recent surge was too little too late. Their next three games: at Falcons, at Giants, home for Buccaneers. One loss puts them behind the 8 ball; two losses put them at home for the playoffs.

David

November 29th, 2012
9:07 am

Hey, remember what Brees said in the last game, they own this division, now go show him who really ownes it !

ed haire

November 29th, 2012
9:09 am

We need to quit trying to force the run against the Aints and expose that last rated pass defense. Bury em with the no huddle and let Witherspoon and Abraham crush our so called big brothers.

Ivan

November 29th, 2012
9:10 am

The Falcons had the division clinched by week 4.

I’m just hoping a Falcons Defense shows up tonight.

4BsihTneeS

November 29th, 2012
9:12 am

ed haire

November 29th, 2012
9:13 am

Key to the game tonight is containing graham, he always kills us..but this time Witherspoon is back!

4BsihTneeS

November 29th, 2012
9:17 am

4BsihTneeS

November 29th, 2012
9:22 am

anyone looking for a date tonight. will work for food stamps

Whadda Ya Know?

November 29th, 2012
9:44 am

Send the Taints back to Nawlins with one more loss and turn out the lights on their playoff hopes. Step up and punch these punks in the mouth once and for all. For once I’d like to see this team ATTACK a team from beginning to end without letting up. Smitty, you’re teaching our players to let up every time you go into prevent mode in the second half. How about we run up the score on them? Let’s take this team to the next level.

Eggsactly

November 29th, 2012
10:34 am

Hey Falcons, nice schedule! Your excuses stink! Gave us that last one? How about the 6 games your opponents have given to you this season. Opponents who, atleast according to record, are inferior! Atlanta Falcan’ts = the most undominant, unimpressive 10-1 team in NFL history! Your SuperBowl chances are a joke….or should I say choke!

Whadda Ya Know?

November 29th, 2012
10:45 am

Eggsactly, the sad part is your Taints played the majority of the same teams. LMAO What does that say troll?

Eggsactly

November 29th, 2012
11:02 am

Whadda Ya Know…..In the one game that truly has mattered in this season….we are 1-0. What does that say? Sure they have basically the same schedule, but you are talking about a team who is not having a great year and without a head coach, and a team who alot of pundits are picking to win the Super Bowl. Not Impressed at all!

Whadda Ya Know?

November 29th, 2012
11:07 am

It says that your team said it’s not a rivalry, but played the game like it was their playoffs–because they won’t have one this year. In the scheme of things, the Falcons HC looks at it as just another game. You not having a HC doesn’t mean a thing, you’re still playing the same plays with the same players, except Sean isn’t there on the sideline. He’s calling your interim HC though, you can believe that. Finally, any Falcon fan could give a **** if you’re impressed or not. LOL

Whadda Ya Know?

November 29th, 2012
11:09 am

Eggsactly, tell me ONE pundit that has projected the Falcons to win the superbowl?

eLLIott

November 29th, 2012
11:20 am

Falcons have an eggscellent chance in tonight’s game. I don’t want them to count their chickens before they are hatched, but the D is really going to make Brees scramble.

The Biscuit

November 29th, 2012
11:21 am

Is it possible that we could “lose” the stupid throw back jerseys? Like forever! Many of us who pulled for the Falcons since their inception have huge and horrible flash backs of all the loser teams that wore those very same loser uniforms! Enough of that. Just wearing thosed cursed uniforms will probably be enough to get us beat. Ask Pittsbugh how their silly clown uniforms worked out for them.

EastPoint

November 29th, 2012
11:28 am

wow! that’s a beast mode stiff arm by Chris Ivory…awesome pic!!

Bobby Butler

November 29th, 2012
11:30 am

I’m glad they are wearing the throwbacks tonight. Win tonight and the laws of recency as it applies to memory can erase decades of dashed hopes and dreams. Win tonight and Brees and the gang will enjoy shrimp and etoufee watching the playoffs at home where cheaters belong. Birds do your thing and you will win!

Bobby Butler

November 29th, 2012
11:32 am

Last item: Falcons tonight play in control but angry, if you are the little brother show the big brother what a punk she is (not a typo)!

Man...

November 29th, 2012
11:33 am

Yeah, if it was Ryan throwing the eggs, you know they hit their target. Iceman is second in the league passing wise. Keep talking nonsense Seen, we’ll smack your aints self back home, and there go your playoffs shots, whatever was left of them.

Man...

November 29th, 2012
11:34 am

Can we go back to the all black unis. those were sweet.

Elderly

November 29th, 2012
11:44 am

Huge game for the Birds. I sure hope some of the fans who have commented above are right about the Falcons winning this one, and I’ll be rooting all the way, but I have some doubts. The person who said that teams that beat NO all have one thing in common, namely that they get pressure on Brees, was exactly right. And we’ve not been able to do that. Spoon is back, but is he really going to be the difference maker getting that pressure? I’m not sure. (He WILL cover the TE better than Nicholas, that’s for sure.) Also, Asante is clearly hurt, and McClain & Owens have shown weaknesses. Moreover, our secondary hasn’t been tackling NO (and other teams) very well. What will make this change? NO is a slightly more talented team than we are, but the more talented team doesn’t always win. To win, we’ve got to be loud at the Dome tonight, the Birds have to be stay concentrated, we need to get some good game-planning, and also, probably, some breaks.