Atlanta's safety tandem of William Moore and Thomas DeCoud started off the season as hot as ever.Things cooled off for the two for a while and they even caught some criticism during the Falcons' middle stretch of the season for their lack of continued turnovers, but on Thursday against New Orleans, they jumped back on the national spotlight.
DeCoud's one pick and Moore's two helped Atlanta's defense hand Saints QB Drew Brees a truly historic night, in all the ways Brees didn't want. After their performance, some of their fellow members of the secondary in the post game locker room had no trouble saying they felt DeCoud and Moore make up the best safety duo in the NFL. The Pro Bowl talk they received in the beginning of the season got cranked up again.
"Those two have been playing at a Pro Bowl level all year," linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said. "On the game's biggest stage, you can expect them to take their respective games to another level."
Combined they have nine interceptions (DeCoud has five and Moore has four), but how good are they compared to the rest of the league's starting safety pairs? A hard scrubbing of the league's depth charts and stats says quite good.
In fact, based on their performances this season, their secondary teammates may be right. DeCoud and Moore quite possibly make up the best team of safeties the league has to offer.
Their nine interceptions sits on top of the league in combined interceptions for starting safeties from each team across the NFL. The second place squad of the New York Giants (Stevie Brown and Antrell Rolle) are second to Atlanta's pair with seven interceptions.
There are three teams whose safety combos are tied for third with five interceptions: New England's Devin McCourty and Steve Gregory, Chicago's Major Wright and Chris Conte and Tampa's Mark Barron and Ronde Barber.
Claims for the best in the league aren't thrown around often by the Falcons, but this one seems to have legs. Individually they've had fantastic seasons and are a big part of Atlanta's success on defense, especially their improved pass defense. Collectively they're playing as well as any two safeties together in the league and that's worrth considering them for the best duo around.