The Saints offense ranks in the top five in points, yards, passing yards and rushing yards per game. The Saints defense does not. Outside of total interceptions the Saints defense ranks considerably lower then their offense. The defense is giving up 230.0 pass yards and 113.9 rush yards per game. Last week the Saints defense gave up 455 total yards to the Redskins and have allowed more than 100 yards rushing in six of their last seven games. In three of those six games the Saints have allowed more than a 131 yards by one player.
The Falcons run game has slowed in recent weeks. In the last seven games the Falcons have rushed for more then 124 yards four times. In the last three weeks the Falcons have not rushed for more than 90 yards. The Falcons must run the ball and take pressure of the Falcons passing game that ranks eighth in the league with 14 interceptions on the year.
The ability to run the ball could be crucial for the Falcons.
Second Half Shutdown
The Falcons defense does not rank high statistically giving 23.2 points and 374.4 yards per game (23rd and 28th respectively). What the Falcons have done well this season is kept teams from scoring in the second half. The Falcons defense has allowed opponents to score more than 14 second-half points twice, with one of those games being an overtime game. The Falcons defense has held opponents to seven of less points seven times and has one game holding their opponent scoreless in the second half. On the season the Falcons defense gives and average of 11.7 points per second half.
In the first meeting between the Saints and Falcons the Saints were held scoreless in the second half until late in the fourth quarter when they turned a turnover into seven points.
The Saints are one of two teams left unbeaten, have the highest ranked offense and have 19 different players that have scored touchdowns. Despite all the stats, the New Orleans has been behind at some point in all of its last six games. The Saints were down by 10 points late into third quarter last week and have trailed opponents by 11 points several times in the last six weeks.
The Falcons have only one victory this season where they have not led the entire game. Two weeks ago Chris Redman led the Falcons on last-minute drive and threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Roddy White with 23 seconds left on the clock.
If the Falcons are able to secure an early lead and play great second half defense.
MORE FALCONS-SAINTS COVERAGE:
MULTIMEDIA:Falcons-Saints video interviews and features * WHAT TO WATCH:Key stats and information to get you ready for gameday * GAME INFORMATION:Important fan information for Sunday's game * J. MIKE'S MISSIVES:News updates and thoughts from the AF.com managing editor * THE BEAT BLOG:Additional Falcons news and injury updates from John Manasso * INJURY REPORT:Injury updates on the Falcons and Saints, presented by Piedmont Healthcare * TRANSACTION:Falcons make early-week roster moves | Bergeron back on practice squad * PREVIEW PACK:More game info and stats from the Football Communications Staff * FALCONS LIVE:Mike Smith and Lawrence Sidbury talk with Wes and Dave * TRANSCRIPTS:Wednesday Locker Room | Smith Wednesday | Smith Monday * USA FOOTBALL:Gonzalez named to first All-Fundamentals Team