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This article seemed good but the more I read the <_< more upset <_< I became.

1. Arthur Blank deserves all the credit for what has happened in Atlanta post-Bob Petrino and Mike Vick.

Vick disgraced himself, the franchise, and the league. Petrino is a snake who lied to everyone and quit like a coward. Blank rightly took a lot of heat for both disasters.

However, Blank was smart enough to hire a true football guy in Tom Dimitroff, who went through the process and found Mike Smith, a longtime assistant and brilliant football mind. Smith has been a great defensive coordinator in the league for a long time. He immediately walked in to Atlanta, changed the culture, and demanded hard work and accountability. Dimitroff paid Michael Turner exactly what he was worth. He was savvy enough to project Turner's greatness as the ultimate blend of power and speed.

But it all changed when the club picked Matt Ryan, a pick Blank pushed for.

The rookie has been so cool under fire guiding these Falcons to a stunning 4-2 record. I thought the Falcons didn't have a chance to win the game against Chicago after Kyle Orton tossed a late touchdown. But then Robbie Gould inexplicably squibbed a kick and "Matty ice" stepped up, just like he did the week before at Lambeau Field. Ryan had time to make one play and threw a strike to Michael Jenkins to give Jason Elam a chance to nail the game-winner.

Ryan is making plays in the fourth quarter. He's establishing Roddy White and Jenkins. These are things Vick didn't do.

Smith and Ryan have changed everything in Atlanta. I still don't think this is playoff team. I still think they are a last-place team. But they are amazing to watch, playing with a ton of confidence and that will pay off next year. Heck, being already ahead of schedule makes this the greatest team story of the year through six weeks.

2. The Saints are still the team to beat in the NFC South. Drew Brees is the best player in the NFL right now. And he's the best quarterback in the league, hands down.

Brees was perfect against the Raiders. And before you say it is the Raiders, Brees was 26-of-30 playing without Jeremy Shockey and Marques Colston.

The real story is the New Orleans defense playing lights out for the second straight week. Jon Vilma is back to his Pro Bowl form. Bobby McCray was incredible on Sunday. That's the big key for the Saints being legit. We know what the offense will do.

I think New Orleans can beat Carolina this weekend in a huge showdown between the 3-3 Saints and 4-2 Panthers.

Carolina was humbled by Tampa. Jermaine Phillips' pick of Jake Delhomme in the end zone at the end of the second quarter typified the domination of the Bucs.

Tampa should have no problem beating spiraling Seattle on Sunday night.

But the upside of the Saints is too large to ignore, especially with the defense rounding into shape.

I guess according to him beating the Oakland Radiers is a statement game for the Saints that just lost to the Vikings.

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I love how things ended up, but honestly Blank got lucky more than he made great moves.

He was turned down by Bill Parcells, Pete Carrol, Marty Schottenheimer, Bill Cowher...if those guys didn't turn down the job then we wouldn't be sitting where we are.

I give more credit to luck than to Blank.

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I agree that teams can either start slow or fast. New Orleans is very talented, and I would say at this point their talent is more developed than the Falcons. A slow 3-3 start does not mean it is ridiculous to call them the best team in the division. They have the best quarterback and a reemerging weapon at RB. If they can get a lights out defense, they will own the division. I see NO as the present and ATL as the future. I think it will be a good rivalry in a few years between a few good quarterbacks, kinda like Colts/Patriots is these days.

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I love how things ended up, but honestly Blank got lucky more than he made great moves.

He was turned down by Bill Parcells, Pete Carrol, Marty Schottenheimer, Bill Cowher...if those guys didn't turn down the job then we wouldn't be sitting where we are.

I give more credit to luck than to Blank.

You're kidding right? The only one of that bunch that Blank even expected to return his call was Parcells, and even that was a long shot when it first came off the brainstorm line. There was already a 99.9% chance that none of the others would even give Blank more than an "Thank you. I'm flattered, but no thank you." The offers to all those guys was just our way (Blank's way) of swinging for the fences.

Then he settled down to hunt for a real GM, and who better to go to than the only dynasty in the NFL over the last 5-7 years. I'd say it's a pretty sound strategy so far.

celtik

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Brees was perfect against the Raiders. And before you say it is the Raiders, Brees was 26-of-30 playing without Jeremy Shockey and Marques Colston.

I guess according to him beating the Oakland Radiers is a statement game for the Saints that just lost to the Vikings.

Guess it's a fair assumption to say that the Vikings are a great team to, since they hammered the Lions.

Can't take that article serious, the statements could've been written by a kid.

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And I will add NO is a hot team. Brees is the best QB in the league this season and they are figuring out how to utilize Bush and he is making some big plays. Their defense has had the talent, they just needed to learn how to use it.

This I can agree with. NO still looks like the team to beat in the NFC South, and I have this feeling our contests this year will be like some of the games of old, like our season opener vs GB a couple years ago (or was that last year) or like our shootout vs the Steelers a few years ago where we went to overtime and tied I believe.

But, if it's anything like it was then, we'll beat NO in NO and they'll beat us in ATL. I hope that it turns out we outgun them on both ocassions and we'll need to in order to get a seat in the playoffs most likely (barring a huge collapse from TB and Carolina and a couple teams from the Cowboys division.

celtik

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You're kidding right? The only one of that bunch that Blank even expected to return his call was Parcells, and even that was a long shot when it first came off the brainstorm line. There was already a 99.9% chance that none of the others would even give Blank more than an "Thank you. I'm flattered, but no thank you." The offers to all those guys was just our way (Blank's way) of swinging for the fences.

Then he settled down to hunt for a real GM, and who better to go to than the only dynasty in the NFL over the last 5-7 years. I'd say it's a pretty sound strategy so far.

celtik

You're kidding right? Blank was shot down by big names he wanted so he finally did settle down and take his time. But he had no intention of Dimitroff or anyone of that nature to start with. He had a big wallet ready to open to that big name and he got played.

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