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Early Preview: Saints vs Falcons

I have a feeling that this game on Sunday is going to be a lot bigger than what the win-loss record for the New Orleans Saints suggests.  The Saints are 3-5 with a handful of good showing in the last couple weeks suggesting that the team may be on the verge of a resurgence.   The Saints are looking to pull a New York Giants and mount an unbelievable come back and some how go from a substantial win-loss deficit and go on to get a spot in the playoffs by getting some big wins late in the season, and what better way to officially kick off their resurgence by handing arguably their biggest rival their first loss.

The Atlanta Falcons are 8-0 and they are focused on finishing this season undefeated, and the last team they would want to had them a loss is the New Orleans Saints.

This is an intense rivalry that goes back to the ’60s but things really began to get contentious between these two teams in 2009.  These two teams have traditionally battled for the top spot of the NFC South division over the last three years.  In 2010 after the Saints defeated the Falcons they posed on the field with the Falcons logo like hunters posing with their catch.  This rubbed a lot of the team the wrong way, but things got really contentious after their meeting last season.

It was a historic night for quarterback Drew Brees. The Saints were enjoying a blowout lead against the Falcons 45-16 in the fourth.  Brees only needed 30 more yards to surpass Dan Marino’s passing record.  In a situation that would have called for a run in order to keep the clock moving, Saints coach Sean Payton called for Brees to pass the ball.  He admitted after the game he wanted his guy to break the record on the most watched weekly program, Monday Night Football.  The Falcons looked at the action as adding insult to injury.

While the Falcons remained classy and congratulated Brees after the game, CBS Sports writer Pete Prisco reported that behind the scenes much of the team were upset and believed that the Saints wanted to humiliate them.  Among the quotes that Prisco gathered from Saints players:

“No need for that.  It came on our watch, but it didn’t have to come that way. We won’t forget it.”

“That’s just who they are.  We’ll see them down the road. We won’t forget any of it.”

If they did not forget it like suggested by the anonymous players quoted in Prisco’s story, then now is the time for the Falcons to get their revenge as they find the Saints with a vulnerable 3-5 record.To further this storyline of intense rivalry, this past offseason the Saints erected a statue depicting the famous punt block by Steve Gleason during the Saints 2006 encounter with the Falcons. The Falcons refused to allow their logo to be placed on the statue.

You have to believe that the Falcons believe that this is their time to get the Saints back for what they see as disrespect from the Saints franchise.  The odds for the game are also with the Falcons as they have a -3 point spread.  Do not ever count the Saints out, though, as they will do everything in their power to ensure the Falcons do not get their vengeance.

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