It's not just your imagination. It's Falcons Week again already. The Saints hosted the Falcons not even two weeks ago, and now Atlanta returns the favor in a Week 13 NFC South matchup on Sunday. This will be the fifth divisional game for New Orleans, who have been perfect thus far. It's all the second of a three-game road trip for Sean Payton's team.
What to Watch For
Can the Saints defense keep it going? This Saints defense isn't Fool's Gold. Even if you take out what happened against the Broncos, this is a formidable unit that is trending upwards. Since the rough start to the season, they've improved in tons of metrics, most notably their third down defense, red zone efficiency, and overall yards and points allowed. Dennis Allen has really been something to this New Orleans team ever since Rob Ryan got fired, and has done a fine job rebuilding. Atlanta will test New Orleans, but it's hard not expect the Saints to come out on top.
Sack Attack. The last time New Orleans squared off against Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense, they sacked him eight times. If you're keeping score at home, that's 17 times in the past two games against Atlanta. It's hard to see another performance like the last two, especially after what Raheem Morris said following the first game about Ryan holding the ball too long. Look for the Falcons to move quicker and attempt to find success in the flats. Of course, this defense is no pushover. Cam Jordan looking for Matt Ryan has become a time-honored tradition.
Health concerns. Terron Armstead might be out of this game due to testing positive for COVID-19, and the other day he mentioned that was starting to feel the symptoms after originally saying that he felt fine and normal. He's not the only concern, as the team could be without Janoris Jenkins (knee), Deonte Harris (neck), and Marquez Callaway (knee). Of the three, Harris could make a return. He didn't practice at all last week and was questionable on the final injury report, but was downgraded to out on Saturday and unavailable against the Broncos. The first injury report drops on Wednesday, so as always, it'll be worth paying attention to as the week progresses.
Taysom Time. Whether you felt good, bad, or indifferent about Taysom Hill's second outing as the Saints starting quarterback, it's irrelevant. According to Sean Payton, Hill did everything that was asked of him.
"He played an entirely different type of game and that had a lot to do with me, relative to how we wanted to play this game. So no, there wasn't anything challenging. I was in his ear 24/7 just about being smart with the football."
Payton took a conservative approach to the game against the Broncos, saying that there were a few ways to lose a game like what they were facing, and that the team wasn't interested in one of those. When you get over 200 rushing yards in a game, it's hard to be upset. With Hill, he'll certainly be more efficient against the Falcons. Perhaps he'll get his first passing touchdown of the season.