Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints: Game Preview

MONDAY NIGHT, DECEMBER 26, 2011

ATLANTA FALCONS (9-5) AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (11-3)

SERIES

FALCONS

SAINTS

SERIES LEADER

45-39

STREAKS

5 of past 6

COACHES VS. OPP.

Smith: 2-5

Payton: 9-2

LAST WEEK

W 41-14 vs. Jaguars

W 42-20 at Vikings

LAST GAME

11/13/11: Saints 26 at Falcons 23 (OT). New Orleans K John Kasay converts 4 FGs, including game-winning 26-yarder in OT.

LAST GAME AT SITE

9/26/10: Falcons 27, Saints 24 (OT). Atlanta K Matt Bryant converts game-winning 46-yard FG in OT. Falcons RB Michael Turner records 114 yards & 1 TD in victory.

BROADCAST

ESPN (7:30 PM CT): Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, Jon Gruden, Suzy Kolber (Field reporter). Westwood One Radio: Kevin Harlan, Boomer Esiason, Mark Malone (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 92 (Atl.), 86 (NO). XM: 88 (WW1), 225 (Atl.), 226 (NO).

STATS

PASSING

Ryan: 307-505-3,698-26-12-90.5

Brees: 417-583-4,780 (1L)-37 (2L)-11-109.1 (2L)

RUSHING

Turner: 273-1,129 (3L)-4.1-9

Sproles: 76-496-6.5-2

RECEIVING

White: 85 (3L)-1,100-12.9-8

Graham (TE): 87 (1C)-1,171-13.5-9 (T3C)

OFFENSE

366.4

456.7 (1L)

TAKE/GIVE

+5

-3

DEFENSE

327.2 (3C)

366.1

SACKS

Abraham: 8.5

Harper: 7.5

INTs

DeCoud: 4

P. Robinson: 3

PUNTING

Bosher (R): 42.1

Morstead: 47.8 (2C)

KICKING

Bryant: 107 (38/38 PAT; 23/25 FG)

Kasay: 129 (3L) (51/51 PAT; 26/32 FG)

NOTES

FALCONS: Have won 7 of past 9...QB MATT RYAN has completed 41 of 64 (64.1 pct.) for 544 yards with 7 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 127.3 rating in past 2. Falcons are 22-0 when Ryan has 100+ rating. Has 3,698 pass yards & needs 302 to become 2nd Falcon with 4,000 in season...Since joining Atl. in 2008, RB MICHAEL TURNER has 48 rush TDs, 2nd most in NFL. When he has 21+ att., his teams are 27-2 (.931)...WR RODDY WHITE had 10 catches for 135 yards & 2 TDs last week. Has 5 TDs in past 4. Has 1,100 rec. yards, his team-record 5th consecutive 1,000-yard season. Since start of 2007, has 456 rec., most in NFC. Rookie WR JULIO JONES had 8 catches for 189 yards (23.6 avg.) & 3 TDs in past 2. TE TONY GONZALEZ had 8 catches for 110 yards & TD in last game at NO...DE JOHN ABRAHAM had 3.5 sacks & 2 FFs last week. Has 111 sacks, 2nd most among active players. DT COREY PETERS had 13-yard FR-TD last week...

SAINTS: Have won 6 in row...QB DREW BREES leads NFL with 4,780 yards & needs 305 to pass HOFer DAN MARINO (5,084 in 1984) for most in season. Has 11 300-yard pass games, most in season. Has 20+ comp. in NFL-record 34 games in row. Has TD pass in 41 consecutive games, 2nd-longest streak in NFL history. In 11 starts vs. Atl. as NO QB, is 9-2 with 100 rating. Has won 6 in row on MNF & has 124.1 rating...RB-PR-KR DARREN SPROLES is only player in NFL with 2+ rush TDs (2), 2+ rec. TDs (5) & ret. TD. RB PIERRE THOMAS has 5 TDs (3 rush, 2 rec.) in 4 home meetings... TE JIMMY GRAHAM leads NFL TEs in receptions (87) & yards (1,171). WR LANCE MOORE had 6 catches for 149 yards & 2 TDs in last home meeting. Has 5 TDs in past 4. WR MARQUES COLSTON had 8 catches for 113 yards in last game vs. Atl...Since entering NFL in 2006, S ROMAN HARPER has 17 sacks, most by DB. Had sack in last meeting.

The Saints lead the Falcons by two games with two weeks left in the season. Both teams can still win the NFC South. Atlanta has won four of its past five games and New Orleans is currently riding a six-game winning streak.

"It's a rivalry game so the energy and effort will be there," says Falcons running back MICHAEL TURNER.

In Week 15, quarterback MATT RYAN threw two touchdown passes to wide receiver RODDY WHITE in Atlanta's 41-14 win over Jacksonville. The duo has combined for 34 passing touchdowns, the most by a Falcons tandem all-time.

The Saints defeated Minnesota 42-20 last week as DREW BREES became the first player in NFL history to complete 80+ percent of his passes (32 of 40, 80 percent) and throw for at least 400 yards (412) and five touchdowns with no interceptions in a game. It marked his 11th 300-yard passing game of 2011, the most in a single season all-time. Brees has 4,780 yards - joining PEYTON MANNING as the only QBs to pass for at least 4,500 yards in three different seasons - and needs 305 yards to set the single-season passing record (Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO, 5,084).

COOL BREES: Through Week 15, New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES has 4,780 passing yards and is averaging 341.4 yards per game. With 305 passing yards against Atlanta on Monday Night Football, he would pass Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (5,084) for the most passing yards in a single season in NFL history.

The players with the most passing yards in a single-season all-time:

PLAYER

TEAM

YEAR

PASSING YARDS

Dan Marino

Miami

1984

5,084

Drew Brees

New Orleans

2008

5,069

Kurt Warner

St. Louis

2001

4,830

Tom Brady

New England

2007

4,806

Dan Fouts

San Diego

1981

4,802

Drew Brees

New Orleans

2011

4,780*

*Through Week 15

Brees has recorded 11 300-yard passing games this season, already a single-season NFL record. Last week, he passed for 412 yards and recorded his fifth-consecutive 300-yard passing game, his second such-streak this season.

If Brees passes for at least 300 yards on Monday Night Football, he would tie Pro Football Hall of Famer STEVE YOUNG (San Francisco, 1998), KURT WARNER (St. Louis, 2000) and RICH GANNON (Oakland, 2002) for the most consecutive 300-yard passing games in NFL history.

The players with the most consecutive games of 300+ yards passing:

PLAYER

TEAM

YEAR(S)

GAMES

Steve Young

San Francisco

1998

6

Kurt Warner

St. Louis

2000

6

Rich Gannon

Oakland

2002

6

Joe Montana

San Francisco

1982

5

Kerry Collins

NY Giants

2001-2002

5

Drew Brees

New Orleans

2006

5

Kurt Warner

Arizona

2008

5

Tom Brady

New England

2009

5

Peyton Manning

Indianapolis

2009

5

Drew Brees

New Orleans

2011

5

Drew Brees

New Orleans

2011

5*

*Active streak; Brees has had two such streaks in 2011

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