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Five things to watch when the Falcons travel to New Orleans to face arch rival Saints

For the Falcons to take the NFC South title, they need to do what they can to beat the Saints... and they need a little luck on their side. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- It should come as no surprise at all that an NFC South decision comes down to the final week of the regular season. There are avenues for the Falcons, Saints or Buccaneers to take home the division title and keep their season alive into the playoffs.

And while the odds are not in the Falcons favor, there's still a chance. So, let's take a look at what you should focus on this Sunday when the 2023 regular season comes to a close for the Falcons in New Orleans.


1. Just win

See below.


2. Hope for the best

See below.


3. Just win 

See below.


4. Hope for the best

See below.


5. You get the point 

There are so many things that we could watch this Sunday.

We could detail the potential lingering effects of Taylor Heinicke's ankle injury -- the quarterback was listed as questionable on Friday's injury report, after all -- or the continued improvement of the rookie class. We could dissect the match up, looking back on the last time the Falcons played the Saints and won. We could explain all the different ways the Falcons got to this point, with a 7-9 record entering the final week of the regular season.

However, none of that really matters, now does it? Winning is all that matters now. By whatever means necessary.

The Falcons are who they are at this point in the season. They have had their spurts of good play -- the first Saints game and the most recent win over the Colts come to mind. Such good play was never consistent, though, as the not-so-good moments of losses to the Cardinals, Commanders and Panthers outweighed good moments from the aforementioned wins.

When it comes to what you should watch this Sunday, it all boils down to one sentence:

For the Falcons to win the NFC South title, earning a berth into the playoffs, they have to beat the Saints and the Buccaneers have to lose to the Panthers.

Sure we could get into the minutia of it all, but at the end of the day that sentence is the umbrella above every note or comment to be made about this upcoming game. Nothing matters, except a win... and a little luck.

If the Falcons lose to the Saints, they're done and they'll finish the season at 7-10 for the third consecutive year. If they beat the Saints, they're in limbo, waiting for confirmation that the Bucs won or lost. Either way, an outcome -- however it comes -- is all that matters now.

Take a look as the Atlanta Falcons put in the work in Flowery Branch for the game against the New Orleans Saints.

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