A Stiff Test for the Falcons Thursday Against the Division Leading Saints

Thursday night the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons have a critical NFC South matchup in New Orleans against the upstart New Orleans Saints, a team that has played better than most expected they would in 2017.

The Falcons enter Thursday’s huge game at 7-5, two games back of the first-place Saints for first in the division. A loss with four games left and you can pretty much kiss a repeat of winning the division good-bye.

The fact the Saints have played so well at home is probably part of the reason they sit at one-point favorites for Thursday’s huge game with the Falcons.

Keep up with that line and get updated on the latest NFL matches at William Hill.

On Monday Falcons coach Dan Quinn said starting left cornerback Desmond Trufant has cleared the concussion protocol and is set to return to practice, a huge lift for a team that has at times had major issues stopping the pass.

The good news is that Trufant will play against the Saints on Thursday night, this after missing Sunday’s 14-9 loss to Minnesota after being hit by teammate Keanu Neal in a win over Tampa Bay back on November 26th in a win.

Seldom-used cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson started at left cornerback for the Falcons, and while he hung in there, it will be a lift for the defensive secondary to get Trufant back.

The other key will be the Falcons ability to stop the two-headed monster at running back for the Saints – that being out of nowhere star in the making Alvin Kamara and former first-round pick Mark Ingram.

These two backs have made the Saints maybe the best running team in the league in 2017, something that no one could have ever seen coming for a team with Drew Brees at quarterback.

What the run game has done for the Saints is open up Brees to throwing more short passes, and also it’s taken the heat off of him from a standpoint of putting the pressure on the offensive line protecting Brees.

Atlanta will have to come up with schemes on defense to take both Ingram and Kamra and make them as ineffective as possible. If they can do that, it will put the pressure back on Brees, and will give the Falcons the best chance to win.

Each week is a playoff game now for the Falcons, and Thursday’s game is by far the biggest of the season for a team that has by many accounts underperformed in 2017.


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