NEW ORLEANS –Good morning. I’m looking forward to actually watching some football today since I really didn’t see any last night in Starkville.
The good news for the Falcons is that no matter what happens in today’s game against the New Orleans Saints — and I do believe they have a legitimate chance to win — they will be fine this season. That’s not the case at Georgia, which not only lost last night at Mississippi State but had yet another player — freshman linebacker Demetre Baker — arrested this morning for underage possession of alcohol and DUI. That makes 10 arrests for the Bulldogs since the spring to pair with a 0-3 record in the SEC.
By comparison, the Falcons are Camelot.
There obviously were some good signs in last week’s 41-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. The Falcons ran the ball effectively, with Jason Snelling having a breakout game (three touchdowns) after Michael Turner left with a groin strain. Quarterback Matt Ryan also was sharp.
But the Saints are at another level. Ryan will face a stronger pass rush and play in a tougher environment in the Superdome than last week.
The biggest step up today must come from the defense. In the first two games, the Falcons faced a third-string quarterback in Pittsburgh (Dennis Dixon) and a last-resort starter against Arizona (Derek Anderson). Today, the opposing quarterback is the MVP of the Super Bowl, Drew Brees.
The New Orleans offense has not been as explosive as a year ago. The Saints have won their first two games by scores of 14-9 and 25-22. But Brees has completed 74.3 percent of his passes (55 of 74) for 491 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. It’s imperative the Falcons get pressure on him, and that starts with John Abraham.
The lone starters out for the Falcons are wide receiver Michael Jenkins and safety Erik Coleman.
That’s it for now. I’ll check back shortly. How do you feel about the Falcons’ chances today?