There will be a lot on the line this Sunday when the New Orleans Saints go on the road to take on their hated rival the Atlanta Falcons. If the Falcons win this Sunday, they will secure the 2nd seed in the NFC Playoff Picture and a 1st round bye in the postseason. However, those aspirations will not come that easily. The Falcons must defeat their hated division rival so that they can have an easier path to Super Bowl LI down in Houston, Texas.
Even though the Saints are eliminated from the playoffs this season, they still have a lot to play for this Sunday. The Who Dat Nation does not want this team to endure another 7-9 season under the Sean Payton Era. A record of 8-8 would have the Saints finishing the regular season at .500 for the first time since 2013. Believe it or not, the Saints are a team that was in rebuilding mode throughout 2016.
An 8-8 record was my prediction on how they would finish the season. They are a good football team, but not good enough to remain consistent and win games on a weekly basis. Unlike conference heavyweight such as the Dallas Cowboys, the Falcons cannot afford to rest some of their starters in this week’s finale against their opponent the New Orleans Saints.
To be honest with you, they are playing with a double edged sword in this contest. They run the risk of losing one of their stars such as Julio Jones or Devante Freeman to a serious injury that could sideline them for the remainder of the postseason. Either way, the Falcons will not have an easy ride to the playoffs this year.
They are more than capable of defeating the Saints this Sunday, but this is not the same Saints team in which the Falcons rushed for over 200 yards on Monday Night Football in Week 3. They are ranked 12th in the league against the rush by only giving up 98.9 yards a game this season. That’s not a top 5 ranking, but it’s not the bottom of the barrel either.
The Falcons are mentioned by many as a team that could go to “Jerry World” and take down the number one seed in the NFC, the Dallas Cowboys, but first, they must survive a shootout against Drew Brees and the high-powered New Orleans Saints offense. Not saying that Falcons cannot go on the road on two different occasions and win a few playoff games, but I believe that they would like to play two playoff games instead of three in their journey to Super Bowl LI.
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