Rivalry or not. Hated foe or not, the Falcons-Saints matchup always at least promises to be a pretty good game with some emotion involved. Each team features a talented QB and that's where most winning teams begin. Though the Saints aren't experiencing the same kind of winning success they've gotten used to in recent years, they're still playing solid football and have come out on the wrong side of the win column more times than not this season.
No matter how you look at the game and the two sides that are set to square off Thursday, each team at a minimum has a respect for each other and the kind of game they'll bring to the table on national television.
Former Falcons linebacker, speaking to the Atlanta media on Tuesday, said he believes he and his defensive teammates will have to be ready for an offense that is ranked sixth in the league.
"They're very efficient on offense," Lofton said. "We have to stay on our toes on defense. We can't have any letdowns and everyone has to bring their A-game."
Saints head coach Joe Vitt has had plenty of time to study the Falcons since he last saw them in Week 10. The Falcons have won their last two games since suffering their first loss of the season to the Saints and Vitt sees a team doing something remarkable. The Falcons have lost the turnover battle and have actually been negative in turnover margin each time out, something that is a cardinal sin in the NFL, yet have still found ways to win.
"The most impressive thing that I see is the five interceptions and put the ball on the ground for a turnover and find a way to win a game," Vitt said. "That's a football team with amazing resolve and a team that plays one play at a time, one series at a time and one quarter at a time. They're judged on the body of work at the end of the game. That's impressive. I don't know of any football team that has overcome those kind of numbers. They've got a formula for winning down there."
The Falcons, after starting off the season hot forcing turnovers, are 12th in the league with a plus-3 turnover margin. They've only had two takeaways in the last five games, while turning the ball over nine times.
The Saints on the other hand have been a little more consistent with both takeaways and giveaways, but sit one behind the Falcons in the league rankings. They're at plus-2, but have been even in four of the last five games. Their one positive turnover margin game in that stretch was Week 11 against Oakland when they were plus-2.