NFL Football
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26
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Atlanta 3 10 0 13 26
New Orleans 3 3 3 0 9
9
10:00 AM PT11:00 AM MT12:00 PM CT1:00 PM ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 AM MST1:00 PM EST12:00 PM CT22:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00 , November 10, 2019
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana  Attendance: 73,283

Falcons-Saints Preview

According to STATS
According to STATS

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints

  1. Both the Falcons and Saints were on bye in Week 9. Since 2009, Atlanta and New Orleans are each 8-2 after a bye, tying each other for second best in the NFL in that span, trailing only Baltimore (9-2).
  2. Since 2016, the Falcons and Saints have met six times, with the Falcons winning the first three and the Saints winning the last three. In this span, this is the only divisional matchup in the NFL in which both teams are averaging at least 28.0 points against each other.
  3. Atlanta has lost six straight games for the first time since November-December, 2015. The franchise has not lost seven straight since September-November, 2003, when Michael Vick broke his leg in the preseason and head coach Dan Reeves was eventually fired midseason.
  4. Julio Jones had his 14th game of at least 150 receiving yards in Week 8 (regular season only), tying him with Antonio Brown for the most by any active player. He has combined for 18 receptions and 296 receiving yards in his last two games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
  5. Latavius Murray has had 150+ scrimmage yards in two straight games after totalling 150+ scrimmage yards just once in the first 83 games of his career. His 4.5 yards per rush this season are his most since gaining 5.2 yards per rush as a rookie for the Raiders in 2014.
  6. Drew Brees became the first quarterback in NFL history to surpass 75,000 passing yards last time out. When these teams last met, Brees had 171 passing yards, the fewest in any of his 27 career games against the Falcons, and his fewest in any home game since Week 17, 2006, when he played one series.
Team Comparison

Atlanta
 
New Orleans
20.6 Points 24.4
336.9 Pass Yds 272.8
68.5 Rush Yds 114.3
4 Takeaways 9
(AP Photo/Bill Feig)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) If the increasingly healthy New Orleans Saints perform as well in the second half of their season as the first, they'll win a franchise record 14 regular season games.

"I would take it," Saints quarterback Drew Brees said. "But we've got a lot of football left. I'm excited to play these games because I want to see how good this team can be. I don't think we've reached our potential yet."

If Brees is right, then a rough season might get rougher for the free-falling Atlanta Falcons (1-7), who'll try to stem a six-game slide when they visit first-place New Orleans (7-1) on Sunday.

The Saints not only survived, but thrived, when Brees was forced to miss five starts with a thumb injury. They went 5-0 with Teddy Bridgewater filling in. Then Brees came back in Week 8 and passed for 373 yards and three touchdowns, even better than his only other full game in Week 1, when he passed for 370 yards and two scores.

"How do you get better after missing five games? I don't know," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. "Not only did he not miss a beat, he played fantastic. ... He sets a standard of consistency and he just never seems to back off."

Brees made do in Week 8 without dynamic running back Alvin Kamara or top receiving tight end Jared Cook, who have both missed two games but appear ready to return after last week's bye. Considering top defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins missed the season's first three weeks while recovering from an Achilles tendon tear last January, the Saints enter Week 9 healthier than at any point this season.

"It's scary. We got so much talent," Kamara said after asserting he was ready to play this weekend. "Knowing what we have, everybody's excited."

The Falcons also are coming off a bye week and hoping the shuffling of coaching assignments, combined with QB Matt Ryan's anticipated return from an ankle injury that sidelined him one game, could bring about a morale-boosting win over an NFC South Division rival.

"It has been a tough beginning for us," Quinn said. "Matt is definitely on the way back. ... He and Drew have battled many times on opposite sidelines. We're certainly anticipating those two going at it head-to-head again."

OLD RIVALS

The Falcons, who entered the NFL in 1966, and the Saints, founded in 1967, have played 99 regular season games, with Atlanta winning 51.

Sean Payton, the Saints' coach since 2006, has seen the favored team struggle enough in this regional rivalry to envision a competitive game, regardless of how much better New Orleans has looked this season.

"Having played them as many times as we have and knowing each time how these games have finished, it really hasn't mattered, the records heading into the game," Payton said, noting that three of Atlanta's losses were by a touchdown or less. "They've been in some hard-fought games and they've had some injuries."

NEXT COACH UP

Quinn's decision last January to fire Marquand Manuel and name himself defensive coordinator has been a bust. The Falcons rank last in takeaways, sacks and third-down percentage. They're second-worst in opponents' passer rating and third-worst in scoring average.

Quinn announced a change to the defensive staff this week as Raheem Morris moved from receivers coach to the secondary. It's the second time he's made a switch after giving linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich more responsibility with play-calling five weeks ago.

The hope is that Morris, a former head coach with Tampa Bay, can improve communication and technique.

DEFENSIVE TEST

New Orleans' defense has stifled five straight opponents, not allowing any of them more than 257 net yards.

Atlanta ranks ninth in the NFL offensively - ahead of New Orleans - and first in passing. Rankins said some of the Falcons' offensive numbers are skewed by the fact they've had to pass more while trailing in games, but he wasn't about to sell them short.

"They have a great quarterback," Rankins said. And he called Julio Jones "an all-world wide receiver."

"Calvin Ridley's no slouch, their tight end (Austin Hopper) is pretty good," Rankins added. "Any time we've played this team, and any time it's really been a close game, it's usually been because they've been able to be multi-dimensional. They've been able to kind of establish a run game and been able to hit us through there as well. So for us, just like it is every week, make a team one-dimensional and then go from there."

GOOD PREP, BAD RESULTS

Quinn has struggled all season to understand how his team performs so poorly when he's watched good practices during the week and strong effort in the games. He likes what he's seen this week, too.

"The preparation has been good, but for whatever reason, when you get into the performances and it hasn't been, so that's what we're really looking to aim, but there was a good energy about the team," Quinn said. "A lot of fighters with lots to prove. I anticipate the energy and mindset to be really strong."

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Associated Press Writer George Henry in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Updated November 8, 2019

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