Later today, the New Orleans Saints return to regular Sunday afternoon football action after two straight prime time contests. But this game is far from normal as it pits the Saints against vilely hated NFC South rival and the final undefeated team of 2012, the 8-0 Atlanta Falcons.
Something people like to say is that for this fiercely-contested rivalry, you can just "toss the records out the window" and watch the teams fight it out. For the first time in a long time, we really need this to be true as the Saints sit at 3-5, five games back, and a woeful 2-4 vs. 6-0 in the common opponents comparison with the Falcons. SOURCE
** What's your mood on this fine Fall Sunday in November, Saints fans? As always, we can use this thread as our pre-pre-pre-game Open Thread and discuss our hopes and fears, as well as our food and gear plans for the day. If you haven't already, drop into the 'How You Watching?' thread and detail your gameday setup! **
Primary Option - KEEP THE KRYPTONITE AWAY FROM BREES
The Saints got away with a win on MNF despite Drew Brees having a less than superhuman game, which has not been the case in the other two Saints wins this year. Since Brees has to be SuperBreesus for the Saints to have a prayer of staying in this game, you know that they have to do much more than protect him, they must keep him walled off from any kryptonite so that he can also play a perfect game.
What I'd Like To See: Brees kept upright all game long (no sacks, no knockdowns) while compiling very impressive SuperQB Stats (300 plus yards, 3+ TDs, no interceptions and a minimum of a 65% completion rate).
Checkdown # 1 - SKILL SET REDUCTION
The Falcons have five offensive skill position players putting up pretty sweet numbers this year. Matt Ryan is on the bus to Elitesville with this stat line - 206 of 299 (68.9% completion rate) for 2360 yards with 17 TDs vs. 6 INTs. That's a 103 quarterback rating, folks. Michael Turner has run for 517 yards and 4 TDs, while Roddy White (47 catches for 709 yards and 4 TDs), Julio Jones (40 for 628 and 5 TDs), and Tony Gonzalez (50 for 485 and 4 TDs) make up the high-flying receiving corps studs.
What I'd Like To See: The porous Saints defense step up and be able to hold at least three of these guys to below their average level of performance. I'm not demanding a stifling effort across the board, but just do enough to reduce the output of a majority of them. That's not too much to ask, is it?
Checkdown # 2 - TAKE AWAY THEIR TAKEAWAYS
The Falcons have 17 takeaways this season, which is more than one per game, and Brees is throwing interceptions at a rate of one per game. Brees also had some trouble hanging onto the ball in the pocket last week vs. the Eagles.
What I'd Like To See: For this reason, I'm calling for a giveaway-free game from the Saints. Perfection in this statistical category will be a huge part of game success.
Safety Valve - OUT, OUT, 'THREE AND OUTS'!
Have I mentioned lately that due to the state of affairs on defense, it's going to take a perfect outing from the offense for the Saints to win? Against the high-octane Falcons offense (but really, every opponent's offense becomes a high-octane offense by simply lining up across from the turnstile-ish Saints defense) they absolutely cannot afford to waste a drive today. Mike Triplett recently clued me in to the fact that the Saints offense has already posted one more "three and out" drive this year (24) than they had in all of 2011, and this must stop today.
What I'd Like To See: No "three and out" drives by the Saints offense today.
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So there's HansDat's four-point plan for victory. What do you think of them? What's in your plan for a Saints victory?