New Orleans is fighting for their playoff live, but they don’t have much time to prepare for this week. In a crucial game at Atlanta, the Saints have only one more day to prepare. At the end of the day, the Falcons have the same amount of time between games, so that excuse loses a bit of weight. Simply put, the Saints need to win this game. If they don’t they are 5-7 and likely sitting at home come playoff time.
Atlanta hasn’t won a game by more than a TD since October. Obviously that is nitpicking considering they are 10-1, but the point is they aren’t invincible. New Orleans already beat this team once, and did so with a well balanced offensive attack. I think the most important factor could come down to the running game. Both Ivory and Ingram played well in the first meeting. With Darren Sproles back in the fold it could complicate things. Honestly, I’m not sure how much value Sproles offers the Saints. He has been used almost exclusively as a pass catcher to the point that defenses don’t even expect him to rush the football. He has done well receiving, but the Saints may be better suited with a more traditional rushing attack. Keeping him on the sidelines may be a better move.
The passing attack could have an advantage if Samuel is unavailable for the game. He aggravated a shoulder injury last week a couple times and is listed as a game time call this week. If he can’t go, Brees could be in line for a big game. Either way he will throwing a lot in such an important game. With Graham, Colston, and Moore all healthy the passing game should be in full swing. Atlanta doesn’t have too many injuries either, so their offense won’t be limited much at all. Mike Smith is moving to a committee attack on offense with Jacquizz Rodgers recently receiving more snaps than starter Michael Turner. Rodgers is clearly the more explosive of the two so that is another factor that New Orleans needs to keep account of.
This is a very big game for the Saints in a must win situation. They have been hanging onto their lives for weeks now, but they could be put to death if they can’t win this one. Brees will have to put together a full four quarters of football without any mistakes. Look for an exciting contest this Thursday Night.