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ESPN Scout Falcons vs Saints


FalconMama
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Pretty grisly...

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Advantages:

NO- Offense (OL, RB, QB, WR), Defense (DL, LB, DB), Coach

ATL - ST

1. The Falcons must get Michael Turner rolling: He is in a real slump and there is no explosiveness to this run game. Is this the same guy that we saw run for almost 1,700 yards a year ago? Turner looks sluggish at times, he doesn't hit the right hole with authority and his guys up front are not opening those holes with consistency. The problem for Atlanta is that when the run game struggles, it affects every other phase of this team. The Falcons are built to run the football, control the clock, put themselves in manageable third down situations and set up good play-action opportunities -- but when they don't run the ball their own defense is on the field too long and the opposing defense can concentrate on coverage schemes. They have no chance against a good Saints' defense unless Turner can get off to a fast start.

2. Atlanta must find Reggie Bush: Even though his production is somewhat up and down, opposing coaches always fear Bush as a matchup. He can play wide, he can flex or go in motion and he can be effective running screens and reverses. His coaches will try to get him matched on a linebacker or maybe a safety; when they see that he will instantly become a "hot" read and with so many spread formations it is tough to double cover or roll coverages towards Bush. Atlanta struggles on the defensive back end in coverage and New Orleans can attack them in that area.

3. Good Sean Payton play calling: This is the most explosive offense in the NFL, and while we think of the Saints as a pass-happy group, the fact is that their offensive balance is terrific. Through six games, they've thrown 197 times and run 200 times. They can play any style of offense and they can keep the Atlanta defense off-balance by throwing in run situations and running in pass situations. Payton looks for matchups that he can exploit and he will move guys around before the snap to get that matchup. This is also an offense that never panics and it is almost impossible to get them out of their game plan. Payton will keep Atlanta off-balance all day.

4. Play physical pass defense: By nature, the Falcons prefer to play mostly Cover-Two schemes with limited blitzing and they are not a good man-to-man group on the back end. That is a bad scheme against a deep and smart Saints' receiving corp that can attack zones and find the soft spots. The best way to stop these guys is to get physical at the line of scrimmage and reroute the Saints receivers as they release, but that is not the way that the Falcons will likely play; this is a tough matchup for their defensive front seven.

5. Is this a tight end day? We have two premier guys in this game, Atlanta's Tony Gonzalez and New Orleans' Jeremy Shockey. Both are tough matchups because they cannot be covered by a linebacker -- even safeties are a mismatch. With both offenses having quality perimeter threats it is hard to roll coverages or double inside and safeties usually drift to the outside to help over the top. Both of those guys can and will get open so the key is for Drew Brees and Matt Ryan to move them around with flexes -- and also use their eyes to maneuver defensive players. The QB that does this best will get great matchups, which could be the key to this game.

6. Can the Falcons defense get to Drew Brees? The offensive line of the Saints is one of the most underrated units in the NFL even though they don't have a lot of big names. They do a nice job in pass protections and run blocking and they are helped by the ability of Brees to get the ball out quickly. Atlanta is not a big sack team, so you'd think they might blitz a lot to create pressure here -- but they also do not want to put a "coverage challenged" secondary on an island. Look for the Falcons to bring some overload pressure from the defensive right side over young OLT Jermon Bushrod.

7. Will the Saints blitz or play it safe? In the past the Saints have played a lot of zone schemes and cover two with mostly front four pressure, but in 2009 they have been much more aggressive under new coordinator Gregg Williams and they are showing a lot of blitzes and pressure. The dilemma for New Orleans is that Matt Ryan seems to play better against man to man schemes where he can identify his matchups quickly instead of throwing into tight zones with tougher windows. This Saints' secondary has played much better in these schemes behind the blitz than most people anticipated, but if they stay with it, do they play into Ryan's strength? And if they play zones does he have all day to pick them apart?

8. The Saints are going to play the full sixty minutes: New Orleans is the most confident and composed team in the NFL right now, and they feel that they are never out of a game. They were terrible in the first half last week at Miami, but they never lost faith. They believe in their game plan and they don't panic, as witnessed by their 19 rushes in the second half, when most teams would have started throwing the ball on every down. Atlanta must slow this game down with offensive balance and a strong run game and they needed to be physical for the entire game. Ball control and mistake-free "blue-collar" football are critical for the Falcons.

9. Atlanta must play good run defense: As much as we admire the New Orleans passing game, it is their run game that has dramatically improved in 2009; they have three backs who can do damage. The Falcons' defense has been vulnerable to strong run games. They have struggled in their gap discipline, they have trouble getting off blocks, and they don't always tackle well. When the front seven doesn't stop the run it can force defensive backs into the box and that opens up good passing matchups outside for Brees against an Atlanta secondary that prefers to stay out of man coverage schemes.

10. Matchup to watch -- Atlanta TE Tony Gonzalez versus New Orleans FS Darren Sharper: These are great veteran players who may be the smartest players in the NFL, respectively, at their positions. Gonzalez loves to work the middle of the field and he is great on the seam route, but that is exactly where Sharper will be sitting as a center fielder, where he gets a great jump on the ball. QB Matt Ryan needs to do a good job of looking off Gonzalez and trying to maneuver Sharper with his eyes.

Atlanta 24

New Orleans 35

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Sounds about right.

Saints have the better QB

Tunner might be a better back, but Bell and Thomas are running better right now

Overall, saints have better WR's

O line is better.

saints have better DB's

D-line is better also.

Linbackers im not so sure about you guys might have it there.

Special teams goes to falcons.

This is a divison game. Bitter rivals. Should be a good one.

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I havent watched a Saints game this season but for those who have.....

Would it be a reasonable assumption that the reason their offense is so balanced between run and pass because they are usually up a significant amount of points and run to kill clock?

The Miami game was an exception but do they go bombs away with the pass and then mop up with clock draining runs or are they truly that balanced within both aspects of their offense?

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Sounds about right.

Saints have the better QB

Tunner might be a better back, but Bell and Thomas are running better right now

Overall, saints have better WR's

O line is better.

saints have better DB's

D-line is better also.

Linbackers im not so sure about you guys might have it there.

Special teams goes to falcons.

This is a divison game. Bitter rivals. Should be a good one.

Out offensive line didn't surrender a sack in almost four games. And Matt Ryan was one of the least sacked QB's last year.

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After the cowboys game you can almost make certian that the Saints will blitz.

Even with the horrendous results of the Cowboys game, Ryan is still excellent against the blitz. Even with the stats of that game - which I believe is an anomaly based on previous games - here are his YTD numbers against the blitz!

Against the Blitz

Ryan is

38 of 58 for 65.5% Completion Rate

517 yds which is 8.91 average yards with a long of 90 yards,

1 TD

0 Int

0 Sacks

115.4 Quarterback rating.

So I say ... Bring on the blitz - PLEASE!

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Even with the horrendous results of the Cowboys game, Ryan is still excellent against the blitz. Even with the stats of that game - which I believe is an anamoly based on previous games - here are his YTD numbers against the blitz!

On Blitzes Ryan is 38 of 58 for 517 yds & 65.5% Completion percent 8.91 average yards longest 90 yards, 1 TD, 0 Interceptions, 0 Sacks and 115.4 Quarterback rating.

So I say ... Bring on the blitz - PLEASE!

One largely unused weapon the Falcons have (had) is the screen pass. When other teams blitz, I am screaming for a screen. My favorite was to Norwood, but as things stand now, whoever. Seems Mularkey is not a big fan of screens, but when the blitzes are coming, it's a great way to make 'em pay!

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4. Play physical pass defense: By nature, the Falcons prefer to play mostly Cover-Two schemes with limited blitzing and they are not a good man-to-man group on the back end. That is a bad scheme against a deep and smart Saints' receiving corp that can attack zones and find the soft spots. The best way to stop these guys is to get physical at the line of scrimmage and reroute the Saints receivers as they release, but that is not the way that the Falcons will likely play; this is a tough matchup for their defensive front seven.

3 words:

Brent Grimes and Crap.

Well.... on paper the Saints seem to have the advantage.

If it wasn't for the 4 Falcons I just saw flying outside my building I would think we didn't have much of a chance for in this game.

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IMO the offensive line has less trouble against the 4-3 and same with Matt Ryan. He always looks all-star when we play a 4-3 team. ESPECIALLY when they blitz.

We're 2-2 vs 3/4 teams this year.Turner's yards-65,56,97,50.4/3-105,30-12 carries.We play much better vs 4/3 teams.If Turner doesn't have it,look for Smitty to insert Snelling and use MT for short yardage.Snelling's running like his butt's on fire right now.The schedule will get easier.We may have to take our lumps Monday,but there's a long way to go.

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7. Will the Saints blitz or play it safe? In the past the Saints have played a lot of zone schemes and cover two with mostly front four pressure, but in 2009 they have been much more aggressive under new coordinator Gregg Williams and they are showing a lot of blitzes and pressure. The dilemma for New Orleans is that Matt Ryan seems to play better against man to man schemes where he can identify his matchups quickly instead of throwing into tight zones with tougher windows. This Saints' secondary has played much better in these schemes behind the blitz than most people anticipated, but if they stay with it, do they play into Ryan's strength? And if they play zones does he have all day to pick them apart?

This one is pretty interesting. If they blitz and ryan picks them apart then we have a chance, or if they play zone and revert back to old ways we have a chance

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Even with the horrendous results of the Cowboys game, Ryan is still excellent against the blitz. Even with the stats of that game - which I believe is an anomaly based on previous games - here are his YTD numbers against the blitz!

Against the Blitz

Ryan is

38 of 58 for 65.5% Completion Rate

517 yds which is 8.91 average yards with a long of 90 yards,

1 TD

0 Int

0 Sacks

115.4 Quarterback rating.

So I say ... Bring on the blitz - PLEASE!

Are these numbers still true because he was sacked 4 times Sunday?

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His sacks are interesting because:

3 of them have come on 1st downs - that's half of them, 2 on 2nd down and only 1 on 3rd down.

2 of his sacks have come with 4 or less on the line.

1 came because he ran the ball - but didn't cross the scrimmage line.

Only 1` sack has come when we were behind in the game - and that was at Dallas. The other 3 were in the beginning of the game when we led by 7 - and 2 were back to back - one when he tried to run with the ball.

3 Sacks in that game - the player came unblocked.

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That sounds about right. I mean outside of being a homer (which I am), we need to control the line of scrimmage in order to get out of there with a win.... Can we do it? Yes. Will it be tough? Hek yeah.... But we have the talent to beat any team in the NFL. We just got outplayed last week... The Cowboys were just more physical than we were.... Let's not let that happen this week or anymore.....

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Also I find it hard to believe that Sean Peyton and his staff are better then Mike Smith and our all star staff here is the ATL.

Your all star staff? Ranked 25th in total D and 19th in O. heckuva staff.........You guys listened to the media way to much in the offseason. You're not as good as the darlings the media portrayed you to be. Very mediocre at best.

Oh.... I read the article from Pat Y on espn blog about your staff(the best in the NFCS). He's a moron..... what does he know? He hates Payton because he won't give him access. So he has to jump on someones bandwagon.

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I havent watched a Saints game this season but for those who have.....

Would it be a reasonable assumption that the reason their offense is so balanced between run and pass because they are usually up a significant amount of points and run to kill clock?

The Miami game was an exception but do they go bombs away with the pass and then mop up with clock draining runs or are they truly that balanced within both aspects of their offense?

We run the whole game. It's Thomas first usually then bell later. If ur d line is tired when bell comes in. Get ready for a show. Payton has really changed his plAy calling around. Still very aggressive just with alot more running.

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I havent watched a Saints game this season but for those who have.....

Would it be a reasonable assumption that the reason their offense is so balanced between run and pass because they are usually up a significant amount of points and run to kill clock?

The Miami game was an exception but do they go bombs away with the pass and then mop up with clock draining runs or are they truly that balanced within both aspects of their offense?

It's a combination of both, some games they've run almost every play in the 4th quarter just to run down the clock. Here's what I have per quarter (excluding kneel downs/intentional safety):

1st: 39 carries 4.9 per carry 2 TDs

2nd: 40 carries 3.9 per carry 2 TDs

3rd: 49 carries 5.2 per carry 1 TD

4th: 66 carries 5.0 per carry 7 TDs

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