Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints came into the 2017 NFL season hoping to compete for a wild-card spot in the playoffs. They were not expected to even get that far but have proven all of their doubters wrong. Not only are the Saints going to make a wild-card appearance, assuming they don’t have a total collapse, they are also on track to win the NFC South division title and be one of the top-three teams in the NFC.
Looking ahead to their Week 14 matchup tonight on Thursday Night Football against the Atlanta Falcons, the Saints have a chance to improve to 10-3 on the season. It is also another chance to extend their lead in the division.
Last week, the Saints were able to take care of business at home against the Carolina Panthers, as ESPN noted. They ended up winning the game by a final score of 31-21. Playing on the road in Atlanta is never an easy task, but the Saints are without question capable of getting the job done in enemy territory.
Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram have formed one of the most lethal two running back systems in the NFL. Both players are putting up starting numbers for the Saints. New Orleans has also seen their defense go from a major weakness last season to being a strength.
All of that being said, what reasons can be given to support the statement that the Saints will beat the Falcons tonight?
Alvin Kamara Will Go Off Yet Again
Quite simply, no one has found a way to slow Alvin Kamara down, and it won’t start this week. Kamara will have a big game against a porous Atlanta defense. He is likely going to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award and has also forced his way into the conversation of being the best all-around running back in the NFL in his first season.
Atlanta’s Offense Will Continue Their Struggles
Last year, Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offense was among the NFL’s elite. This year, however, they have run into some serious issues and have not gotten on track. Atlanta has shown flashes of big-play potential, but they have not been able to turn those flashes into consistency and the Saints’ defense will not allow them to do so this week either.
New Orleans Will Put Pressure on Matt Ryan
All season long, the Saints have found ways to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. That will be the case once again this week against Ryan. New Orleans will force quick decisions and could very well turn those decisions into turnovers.
Drew Brees Is Still Elite
Even though the Saints have turned into more of a run-first offense, Drew Brees is still one of the league’s best quarterbacks. He is capable of having a big game or drive when needed. Atlanta has always had trouble with Brees and his presence will make things difficult on the Falcons once again.
Marshon Lattimore Covering Julio Jones
There is always a chance that Julio Jones will torch the Saints’ rookie cornerback, but Marshon Lattimore is one of the top cover corners in the NFC. Lattimore will make Jones work for whatever he gets this week. New Orleans should feel comfortable with Lattimore shadowing Jones across the field.