Week 14 is going to kick off with a bang with a huge NFC South matchup between the 9-3 New Orleans Saints and the 7-5 Atlanta Falcons. This game is crucial for the Falcons as they are coming off a loss to the Minnesota Vikings and are looking to keep their playoff chances alive with a win on Thursday Night while the Saints will look to continue to perform well coming off a dominant win against the Carolina Panthers. The stakes are high and the margin for error is low and now it time to get into this week’s matchups.
1. Drew Brees
Brees is coming off a game in which he threw for 269 passing yards and 1 TD on 34 attempts. He’ll be looking to keep the back out of harms way against a Falcons defense that ranks 6th in passing yards per game allowed (207.8) and this unit is also not good at creating turnovers compared to last season. The Falcons defense needs to force turnovers in order to take advantage of those opportunities and to keep the Saints offense off the field.
2. Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram
Kamara and Ingram are coming off big games against the Carolina Panthers as Kamara racked up 126 scrimmage yards and 2 TDs while Ingram ran for 85 yards and a TD. Brees will be looking to hand the ball off to these two as much as he did last week as the Falcons offense ranks 18th in rush yards per game allowed (113.2). The Falcons know they have to shut down the run game first in order to makes this offense one-dimensional and force Brees to throw the ball 30 or more times.
3. Matt Ryan and the Offense
Matt Ryan and the offense need to run the ball and burn out the clock in order to keep the Saints offense off the field. The Saints “weakness” is their run game as they rank 17th in rush yards per game allowed (112.8). This Saints defense also knows how to create turnovers by forcing their opponents to throw the ball against them, first shutting down the run. This game will all depend on how well the Falcons offense plays.
Bold Prediction: Matt Ryan and the offense rack up 400 yards of offense and 4 TDs.