After going into the bye week fully justifying his return from injury, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints look to come out of it furthering the misery of the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday in an NFC South clash. The Saints have three straight victories over the Falcons.
When: Sunday, Nov. 10
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Many questioned the wisdom of Brees pushing to return before the bye week for New Orleans, which is atop the conference at 7-1 since backup Teddy Bridgewater played well-above expectations in helping the Saints win all five games in Brees’ absence.
The 40-year-old and future Hall of Famer, though, picked up where he left off with few signs of rust rehabbing his thumb injury. He threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns as New Orleans tore through Arizona 31-9 last Sunday. While he was intercepted once, Brees completed 34 of 43 passes and also was not sacked.
The Saints tied a season-high 510 yards of total offense, and Brees is not the only player putting up big numbers. Running back Latavius Murray had 102 yards in topping the century mark for the second straight game and Michael Thomas continued his spectacular season with 11 catches on as many targets for 112 yards and a touchdown.
Thomas is on a blistering pace in his bid to rewrite the NFL’s single-season receiving records, hitting the halfway point with 73 catches, 875 yards and four touchdowns. He leads the league in receptions and yards and is three TDs off the league lead shared by Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans and Detroit’s Kenny Golladay.
Atlanta (1-7) is at the other end of the NFC South, with embattled coach Dan Quinn again shuffling his coaching staff to try and find a winning combination. During the bye week, Quinn moved assistant head coach and wide receivers coach Raheem Morris to help the secondary, Bernie Parmalee to running backs coach, and Dave Brock to wide receivers coach.
Of the three moves, Morris’s switch to defense will be the one most scrutinized for this game given New Orleans’ offensive proficiency in the passing game and Atlanta’s inability to stop opponents in that area. The Falcons, who are already without injured safety Keanu Neal and possibly cornerback Marcus Trufant for this game, have allowed 19 touchdown passes, tied for third-worst and rank 23rd in passing yards allowed at 261.1 per game.
Quinn is hoping quarterback Matt Ryan will be available for this game after missing Atlanta’s 27-20 loss to Seattle in Week 9 due to a high ankle sprain. Matt Schaub, who threw for 460 yards in his first start since 2015 in that defeat, would be under center if Ryan is unable to make the start.