Set down your Motorola Razrs - we’re back again this year with our Interview with the Enemy series. This week, Evan Birchfield of The Falcoholic answers 5 quick questions before the Week 13 matchup on later tonight: the New Orleans Saints returning to the Dome for the first time in over a year.
The Atlanta Falcons are riding high at 2-0 as they get ready to travel to the Louisiana Super Dome. What are the expectations for the team this year?
Obviously we’d like to see the team improve on last year’s 8-8 finish. A lot of that depends on whether or not Michael Vick can stay healthy and on the field. It does feel good to be sitting at 2-0, and looking at the rest of the schedule, I’m hoping for a 9-7 finish at worst. Whether that will be good enough to win the division or lock up a Wild Card spot remains to be seen, but I would feel good about having improved upon last year’s .500 finish.
Atlanta seems to have an advantage against New Orleans with a coach and quarterback pair in Jim Mora, Jr. and Michael Vick that look like they could stick around together for a decade. What makes them work so well together?
I think what’s helping is Jim Mora, Jr. is allowing Michael Vick to do his own thing. I really enjoyed Dan Reeves as head coach, and he brought us our most success in franchise history, but Vick is a rare talent that can’t be guided in the same sort of direction of pocket passing that Reeves has coached in recent years. Mora is allowing Vick to be Vick.
Y’all have one of the best special teams players in Saints - and NFL - history in Morten Andersen. How do you think special teams could affect Monday night’s game?
I mean, he’s 46 but he can still kick with the best of them. He’s a legendary kicker that will hopefully be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame some day, and it never hurts to have a guy of that caliber making kicks for you, regardless of age. With that being said, this is his first time kicking this season, we don’t know if he’s exactly the same Morten Andersen from years past. It’s pretty up in the air at this point.
I’ll be shocked if Roddy White isn’t the best wide receiver in Atlanta Falcons history when all is said and done. How can New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs try to contain him? Should we just offer to pay the Saints player who tackles him the hardest?
Yeah, we are very excited to see what Roddy White does in the upcoming years. This is only his second season, but he was a first-round pick last year out of a small school who has yet to really produce. He has two receptions this season, so hopefully he turns things around this week.
What are your predictions for the game? Who wins? Final score?
We’re 2-0, but obviously that means nothing in these rivalry games. Not to mention, the Saints have a ton of energy coming into this matchup, and I imagine they’ll want to play all out for the home crowd. But I’m going to lean Falcons 17, Saints 14 in a close one.I just hope for an evenly officiated game.
Thank-you, Evan, for taking the time to answer our questions. Saints fans, make sure you check out Evan and the work his guys are doing over at The Falcoholic. You can follow The Falcoholic on MySpace at their page, TheFalcoholic, and Evan at his page, EvanBirchfield.