The New Orleans Saints (8-8) will face their division rivals, the Atlanta Falcons (7-9), this Sunday at noon in the Caesars Superdome. This will be the final regular season game for both teams and could potentially birth a playoff bid for New Orleans.
Here are three statistics that could have serious implications in Sunday’s game.
What does this mean: New Orleans’ red zone efficiency over the past three games
Why should I care: One of the biggest issues with the offense has taken a complete 180. In the first half of the season, New Orleans struggled to find the end zone after crossing the 20-yard line. The team has a 67% red zone touchdown efficiency over the past three weeks, which is sixth-best in the NFL. It appears that Derek Carr and Pete Carmichael have become more comfortable controlling this offense once inside the red zone. The offense will need to capitalize on this red zone momentum against a Falcons defense that held New Orleans to just 15 points in November. They might have to do it without Alvin Kamara, which could be a troubling challenge for Carmichael.
What does this mean: Rushing yards gained by Bijan Robinson against the Saints on Nov. 26
Why should I care: The Saints could not stop the run game the last time they faced the Falcons. More specifically, they could not stop rookie Bijan Robinson, who rushed for 91 yards on 16 carries. RB Tyler Algier had an easy day, racking up 64 yards on ten carries. With the instability of the Atlanta quarterback room, the Saints have to focus on stopping the run. Dennis Allen’s defense was able to shut down Tampa Bay’s Rachaad White last week, but Robinson might be a tougher challenge. This should be a dominant defensive performance for New Orleans, but it must begin with containing Robinson.
The Falcons looked like a team that quit last Sunday. The Saints better stomp them this weekend.— Chris Rosvoglou (@RosvoglouReport) January 2, 2024
What does this mean: Passing yards thrown by Chicago Bars quarterback Justin Fields against Atlanta last week
Why should I care: Atlanta’s pass defense has been pretty tough this season. They allow just 200 passing yards per game, which is eight-best in the league. However, Justin Fields was able to throw 268 yards against them last week. It appears that the Falcons’ defense gave up last week and put forth minimal effort to stop Fields. Atlanta’s secondary appears to be as vulnerable as ever, and Derek Carr needs to take advantage of this. In November, Carr threw for 304 yards against Atlanta and has the opportunity to do it again. But can he avoid errant turnovers? He must in order to keep playoff hopes alive.