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Ask The Expert: Ted Lewis

Reggie Roberts: The Saints are heading to Atlanta for Thursday's nationally televised game against the Falcons.  Based on the intensity of the game in New Orleans three weeks ago, what kind of game do you anticipate on Thursday?

Ted Lewis: You wouldn't expect any less than the last time. But the Saints were pretty beat up Sunday and I think the realization is setting in that they just aren't one of the league's elite teams.

RR: Through 13 weeks of the 2012 NFL season, which two teams are the biggest surprises?

TL: Tampa Bay looks like a team on the rise. On the other end of the spectrum, did anybody see the Eagles' demise coming?

RR: Most NFL experts predicted that Tom Coughlin's New York Giants would beat Green Bay last Sunday in the Meadowlands. Was Sunday's win by the Giants expected based on Coach Coughlin's penchant for having his team ready to play as the calendar prepares to turn to December?

TL: While every game in the NFL is crucial, the Giants always seem to take a long-term approach to the season. And it's working for them again.

RR: Let's switch back to the Falcons and Saints.  New Orleans won in the Superdome three weeks ago, but the Falcons are 31-4 at the Georgia Dome since 2008.  Who do you like on Thursday?

TL: The Falcons. Teams seem to be figuring out the Saints' offensive limitations, especially in the fourth quarter, Drew Brees' excellence not withstanding. And the defense is getting beat up, especially in the secondary, which is not a good thing going against the Falcons receivers.

RR: Give us your take on how well San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick played in Sunday's win over the Saints. Is he the real deal?

TL: He sure looked like it, especially at stretching the pocket and running the read option. Of course, folks were saying the same thing about Cam Newton a year ago. The 49ers already were an extremely talented team outside of quarterback. Now they have someone who adds another dimension to their game.

RR: Who are the most complete teams in the AFC and NFC right now in your opinion?

TL: Coming off just seeing the 49ers it's hard to go against them. Houston is playing lights out, but I love the way Peyton Manning is bringing Denver to the forefront.

RR: And finally, give us your division winners and wild card participants in each conference right now with five weeks remaining in the 2012 season.

TL: NFC - New York, Atlanta, Green Bay, San Francisco - Wild cards - Washington and Chicago; AFC - New England, Baltimore, Houston, Denver, Wild cards - Indianapolis and Miami

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