WATCH: 3 Things to know about the New Orleans Saints
The Atlanta Falcons will visit the New Orleans Saints on Sunday for the first of two matchups between these two teams in 18 days. The second will be on Thanksgiving Day.
Both teams are coming off their bye and have opposite records (7-1 versus 1-7). The Falcons will be looking to snap a six-game losing streak.
Here are three things to know about Atlanta's division rival, the Saints:
1. The New Orleans teams of yesteryear were all about Drew Brees. Not anymore.
New Orleans is a team that wants to establish the ground game, stop the run, capitalize on mistakes and place opponents in bad positions wit on special teams and control time of possession.
Defensively, the Saints are fifth in yards allowed, fourth in rushing yards yielded and ninth in points allowed. Part of why they are so stout against the run is the fact they get a lead and then the opposition can't maintain a balanced offensive attack. The Saints are actually 11th in rushing yards allowed per attempt.
Even still, this probably isn't the week the Falcons finally get their ground game going.
2. Those defensive numbers are more intimidating because the Saints are also first in starting defensive field position. On average, opponents begin drives at the Saints 24.5-yard line. That's due to the fact New Orleans has turned the ball over just twice and punter Thomas Morstead is third with 19 punts downed inside the 20-yard line.
Morstead has yet to punt the ball into the end zone for a touchback this season.
With how well New Orleans takes care of the ball, it would be a surprise to see the Falcons for any takeaways and create good field position for the offense.
3. Adding to the difficult of beating the Saints is their offense is third in time of possession. What's interesting about this statistic is New Orleans is just 15th in rushing yards per game and were without Brees for five games. The two teams ahead of the Saints in time of possession, the Ravens and 49ers, are first and second in rushing yards per contest respectively.
Controlling the clock in an NFL game isn't as important as it was 15-20 years ago, but it can still frustrate an offense and wear out a defense. The Falcons will be trying to avoid both of those this Sunday.