Saints vs. Falcons: Scouting the Enemy

Chris Graythen

In anticipation of the Saints' Week 1 matchup against the Falcons this Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, I caught up with our old friend and SB Nation's resident Falcons expert, Dave Choate, to get his inside perspective on the Saints' upcoming opponent.

Dave Cariello: What's the status of Roddy White's ankle? Will he be hampered at all?

Dave Choate: Roddy White has a low ankle sprain. When you combine that relatively minor injury with White's history of never missing a game and his hatred of the Saints, you would be hard-pressed to keep him off the field. He should be at least 95%.

***

Cariello: Has Steven Jackson looked as old and rundown this preseason as Saints fans hoped he'd be?

Choate: Not even close. S-Jax has looked strong in preseason. The Falcons are concerned about him wearing down over the life of the season, but he'll be fresh for Week 1. Look for the Falcons to use him as a receiver out of the backfield frequently.

***

Cariello: John Abraham is finally gone - THANK GOD! - so how does the Falcons pass rush look with Osi Umenyiora?

Choate: The jury's still out on this one. Osi has looked fairly sharp in his limited preseason snaps, but no one else has really stepped up besides Kroy Biermann. The Falcons will give the Saints a lot of different looks to try to coax a pass rush out of the front seven, but right now all we have is cautious optimism.

***

Cariello: What is the weakest aspect of the Falcons defense? What should the Saints offense exploit?

Choate: Even though I think he'll be a fine cornerback sooner than later, I think you have to test Desmond Trufant. Like all rookie cornerbacks, he'll have his struggles and the Falcons can't hide him all game long.

***

Cariello: Who was the surprise player to make the Falcons final 53-man roster?

Choate: There were a few, actually, but for my money you go with linebackers Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu. Both are athletic undrafted free agents who made a huge impact in the preseason, which was enough to catapult them on to the team. Bartu in particular looks likely to see the field against the Saints in dime packages.

***

Cariello: Care to make a prediction?

Choate: I'm predicting a 28-24 Falcons win. The score is probably too low there.

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