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Numbers to Know: Saints vs. Falcons

A critical game approaches for two playoff-hopefuls. 

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints (5-5) and the Atlanta Falcons (4-6) will face off this Sunday after both teams rested through a much-needed bye week.

Both games are incredibly important to both teams. Both teams currently sit in first and second place in the division standings, respectively. This could perhaps be the most important game in Dennis Allen’s career as his team looks to strengthen their playoff bid amidst serious doubts regarding his coaching abilities.

Here are three statistics that could have major implications this Sunday.

97 Yards

What does this mean: Desmond Ridder’s passing yards in his last outing against New Orleans

Why should I care:

Desmond Ridder has been incredibly streaky, flopping back and forth between decent and awful for the past two seasons. Arthur Smith recently declared Ridder the permanent starter after giving Taylor Heinicke a shot for three weeks. Much like the Saints did against Tyler Bagent and Bryce Young, the Saints need to put pressure on Ridder to make tight throws. Even after a bye week, this Saints’ defense has made 12 interceptions, which is tied for the second-most in the NFL. In week ten against Minnesota, the defense failed to contain Josh Dobbs and force any turnovers, leading to a 27-19 loss. Even without Lattimore, this should be a dominant performance against Atlanta’s passing attack. If not, then serious changes need to be made (as if they shouldn’t have been made already).

43.6 Yards per Game

What does this mean: Alvin Kamara’s receiving yards per game in 2023

Why should I care:

The passing game has been a massive question mark this season. Why do we keep running the same ineffective routes? What’s the deal with Olave? Where is Juwan Johnson? All of these questions and more have caused great confusion, but one truth remains, Alvin Kamara is dynamite in the passing game. With Michael Thomas out and Carr potentially not 100% with a concussion, the short-passing game will be critical against Atlanta. If Kamara and Carr get on the same page early, Kamara could have a massive receiving performance. However, Kamara has only averaged 12 yards and three receptions per game over the past three Atlanta matchups. Why? Ask Pete, I have no idea.

22 Carries

What does this mean: Bijan Robinson’s carries in week ten against Arizona

Why should I care:

With questionable quarterback play, Atlanta’s offense will be run through rookie running back Bijan Robinson. Two weeks ago, Robinson had 22 carries against the Arizona Cardinals, the most carries he’s had thus far. If the Saints’ defense wants to succeed, especially without cornerback Marshon Lattimore, Robinson must be contained. Last season, New Orleans struggled to stop Atlanta RB Cordarrelle Patterson (120 yards) in week one and Tyler Allgeier (139 yards) in week 15. The Falcons seem to have our number when it comes to running the ball. If Robison gets going, it could be a very long day for Dennis Allen and the defense.