Can Drew Brees and the Saints continue the Falcons’ miserable season to date?
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta
When: 01.25 (GMT)
Watch live: Click here to watch on NowTV from Sky!
A year ago, the Atlanta Falcons were vying for the best record in the NFC while the New Orleans Saints were mired in one of the most frustrating seasons in team history.
With the roles reversed in 2013, the visiting Saints can sweep the season series by extending the Falcons’ longest skid in six years to five games Thursday night.
The return of coach Sean Payton and addition of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has helped New Orleans (8-2) leave the dismal 7-9, bounty-scandal season of 2012 in the past and thrive once again. The Saints are 1 1/2 games behind Seattle for the best record in the NFC and looking for a third straight victory after rallying from a six-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat San Francisco 23-20 at home Sunday.
Injuries, combined with a poor running game and struggling defense, has Atlanta (2-8) tied for the worst record in the conference after finishing an NFC-best 13-3 and coming within one win of the Super Bowl last season. The Falcons lost 41-28 to Tampa Bay on Sunday and have dropped four straight for the first time since a six-game slide in 2007 — the season before coach Mike Smith’s arrival.
After New Orleans rallied from a 10-0 hole to post a 23-17 season-opening victory over the Falcons, it appeared the teams would mix it up for the South Division title.
The Saints have done their part, starting 5-0 and riding an offense that ranks second in the NFL with 419.1 yards and 28.8 points per game. Brees is completing 68.2 percent of his passes and is second to Peyton Manning with 3,369 passing yards and 26 touchdowns.
He was 30 of 43 for 305 yards with a TD and an interception to help the Saints overcome two other turnovers by leading them to three fourth-quarter field goals last week.