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Point-Counterpoint: Falcons vs. Saints


Every week there's a rush of information in the days leading up to gameday. Bloggers, TV analysts, reporters, fans … everyone has an opinion, and in the age of hyper-speed new media, everyone's got a chance to share it.

But sometimes it's tough to focus through all the noise.

Here we examine three storylines entering Week 3 that you'll surely hear all about. We present the flipside, the ideas from inside the walls of the team headquarters, to suggest what the Atlanta Falcons are thinking of the popular headlines.

What they will say:The Saints are 18-3 in their last 21 games and 9-2 at the Superdome dating back to the beginning of 2009.

What we're saying:Dating back to 2008, the Falcons have lost three consecutive games to the Saints. Under head coach Mike Smith Atlanta has never lost to an NFC South rival four games in a row. Studious and well-prepared, with two seasons of film to watch, the Falcons coaching staff will be ready for the Saints' explosive offense and opportunistic defense. The last time out, Atlanta fell to New Orleans 26-23 in a game that saw the Falcons with an opportunity for the tie or the win in their final possession.

What they will say:The Falcons are already facing troublesome injuries against the Saints, who appear a little more healthy (despite losing running back Reggie Bush on Monday night) heading into Week 3.

What we're saying:The Falcons have spent the last two drafts building depth at numerous positions. They've shown they have the ability to play through injuries and have players who can step up. In last season's Week 14 loss to the Saints, Atlanta played without starting quarterback Matt Ryan and starting running back Michael Turner.

The Falcons ended last season with 11 players on injured reserve, but still managed a 9-7 record.

Last Sunday they began the Arizona game without starting wide receiver Michael Jenkins and starting safety Erik Coleman. During the game, Turner, key backup tailback Jerious Norwood and starting nickel cornerback Chris Owens all left the game. Despite the injuries, the Falcons managed an impressive 41-7 performance.

What they will say:Atlanta's defense faces a real test in Week 3 against what many believe is the best offense in the NFL, even though that offense has yet to hit on all cylinders.

What we're saying:The Falcons are built to defend New Orleans' high-flying passing game.

As the role of the passing game expands in the NFL, the Falcons have tried to keep up by drafting players in recent years with experience playing in college conferences that place an emphasis on that discipline.

Smith, in Monday's exclusive interview with, spoke about two players, William Moore and Sean Weatherspoon, who prepared for the NFL in the Big 12, a conference that employs numerous spread offenses. Facing these offenses, Moore and Weatherspoon learned how to play in space.

Starters at linebacker and in the secondary, like Curtis Lofton and Thomas DeCoud, are also comfortable facing this style of offense. Owens played at San Jose State and also faced pass-first attacks.

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