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Analysis: Falcons wrap regular season at 'one of the better home-field advantages' with rocky road record

The Falcons are 2-6 on the road this season, and their must-win, regular-season finale will be played in the Saints' Caesars Superdome. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The road for the Atlanta Falcons has been rocky this season, and the biggest speed bump is still ahead.

The Falcons play the New Orleans Saints on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS) at the Caesars Superdome, which has averaged an attendance of 70,013 fans in its seven games so far. Atlanta is very familiar with the venue, considering the two team are NFC South rivals and visit each others' homes every year. The Falcons are 21-25 all-time in New Orleans, dropping the most recent contest and six out of the last 10.

"It's one of the better home-field advantages," said Falcons linebacker Kaden Elliss, who played for the Saints from 2019-22. "A lot of that comes down to the fans there. They're pretty, pretty crazy in a lot of good ways.

"When you're playing for them, you love it. When you're playing against them, you have to know how to handle it."

There's a lot on the line, too.

Week 18 marks the end of the regular season. Depending how the Carolina Panthers-Tampa Bay Buccaneers goes, though, the winner in New Orleans could gain another opportunity with the playoffs. If the Panthers defeat the Buccaneers, whoever wins between the Saints and Falcons then claims the NFC South. The games should wrap around the same time since both feature 1 p.m. ET kickoffs.

"It's going to come down to this week," Elliss said. "Obviously (we've) got another game for both of us that matters a lot, with the Buccaneers, but we'll both be focused on our game. In New Orleans, it's coming down to the rivalry game. We already beat them once this year, so we got to go make that two."

One of the biggest differences between the Falcons' Week 12 victory over the Saints and this Week 18 match is location. The first meeting was in Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Sunday's, as already noted, will be in New Orleans' Caesars Superdome.

This difference matters because the Falcons have had a rough go on the road in 2023. They're 2-6, with an 0-2 record at indoor facilities like the 'Dome.

The Saints, meanwhile, are 4-3 at home.

"It's one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL, I think, and probably one of the best venues," Falcons offensive lineman Chris Lindstrom said. "As a competitor, you look forward to those opportunities and the fact that, now, not only are you going to play in a great environment, it's a big moment in our season. It's extra special."

Below is a quick look at each team's numbers this season:


  • Record: 2-6 (T-26th)
  • Points scored: 112 (30th)
  • Yards: 2,172 (28th)


  • Record: 4-3 (T-16th)
  • Points allowed: 134 (5th)
  • Yards allowed: 2,179 (6th)

The Falcons haven't scored more than 23 points in a road contest, and they hit that mark twice, in a Week 8 loss to the Tennessee Titans and Week 10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

An opponent hasn't scored more than 30 points against the Saints at home. They've only allowed 30 once, in a Week 16 road loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Atlanta has lost its last two road games, including last Sunday's Week 17 drop to the Chicago Bears. New Orleans has won its last two home games, but at least three weeks have passed since then.

That Saints are, however, coming off a big win over the Buccaneers. That victory is the only reason the Falcons still have a chance at the postseason. Had the Buccaneers won, Tampa Bay would have clinched the division.

Now, the Falcons must win to keep that spark alive.

"We know that it's a playoff-type game for both teams," Falcons defensive lineman Zach Harrison said. "They're going to bring their best, so we got to bring our best. We got to bring that same intensity that we brought when they came into our stadium.

"It's going to be a battle. It's going to be a fun one down in New Orleans. We got to get the dub."

Take a look as the Atlanta Falcons put in the work in Flowery Branch for the game against the New Orleans Saints, presented by Fast Twitch by Gatorade.

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