The Atlanta Falcons will lock up the No.1 seed and home field advantage in the NFC playoffs with a victory over division rival New Orleans on Monday Night. The first meeting between these two in the beginning of the year in the Superdome came down to the wire, and oddsmakers are expecting this one to be close as well.
The Falcons (12-2) have not lost inside the Georgia Dome in more than a year, as they hope that trend continues on into Monday night against the defending Super Bowl champions. Atlanta comes into this week on an eight-game win streak, not having lost since Oct. 17 to Philadelphia, a span over over two months.
Quarterback Matt Ryan and running back Michael Turner are two of the main ingredients to the performance of the team this season. Ryan has thrown for over 3,300 yards and tossed 25 touchdowns on the season. Turner has quietly amassed 1,256 yards on the ground and 11 touchdowns to form one of the most balanced offensive attacks in the NFL. Wide receiver Roddy White has always been recognized as a solid receiver, but has become a dominant threat on the outside for Ryan down the field, hauling in 106 receptions for nearly 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns.
On the other sideline New Orleans (10-4) has already locked up at least a wildcard berth in the playoffs, but will need a victory over Atlanta or the Falcons clinch the division.
The Saints had won six-straight prior to a loss last week to Baltimore, and now look to get back on the winning side of things.
“From a confidence standpoint, it’s unwavering for us,” said New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees “We’re as confident as any team out there and we know how good we can be and how great we can be.”
Last week was the first time New Orleans did not score 30 points in six week, coinciding with their win streak.
The Saints defense will have to step up to shut down the Atlanta offense, spearheaded by Turner of late, as he has averaged 105 yards rushing over the course of the last five games to go along with five rushing touchdowns.