It's a bruised, battered and desperate Falcons squad limping into the Georgia Dome this Sunday, which makes them equal parts dangerous against the Saints and in enormous trouble. When it rains, it pours, and right now the Falcons are getting plunked with meteorites. Insert your cliche here.
With that in mind, let's jump into some of the biggest stories leading into this game. Lord knows there's enough of them this time around.
- The biggest news right now is obviously Jonathan Babineaux's recent arrest, which officially tipped the balance of the Falcons' season from depressing to absurd. We are all inside a William Faulkner novel right now, full of typing and emoticons, but signifying nothing. Which really kind of sucks, if you think about it.
But back on point. Babineaux is going to play this Sunday, so the Falcons at least have a chance to contain the Saints up front. That's the good news. The bad news is that this was a really, really stupid incident, one that Arthur Blank isn't going to approve of, and the league could take action to suspend him in the future. That's definitely going to hurt the team, and the pattern of behavior could lead the team to seek alternatives to Babineaux at DT. Obviously, I'd prefer this was the last we ever heard of any legal issues and he could continue to provide great value at the position, but at this point we're in a bad spot.
- The Falcons are about as clear about injuries as the Horsehead Nebula, so it's little surprise that they've once again listed most of their roster as questionable. Matt Ryan shouldn't play and probably isn't going to, and the same for Michael Turner, but they're both listed with a Q next to their names. Even though the team desperately needs both back, it's not worth aggravating existing injuries in a game that promises to be difficult no matter what happens. Apparently, that rumor about Ryan's status depending on who is available to play the offensive line is false.
- The rumor flying around is that Brent Grimes and Chris Owens are going to be our two top cornerbacks on Sunday. Based on talent, I'm not opposed to this, but even Grimes and his considerable athletic talent probably aren't going to be enough to keep up with Marques Colston, who is an absolutely filthy receiver. I pray for us all.
- When Mike Smith says, "we're all ornery," you have to expect a much better all-around effort against the Saints this week. The Falcons are as angry as we all are about the way the season's turned out, this game could make or break the season and fans should show up in droves to support the team. I still think the Falcons have a good shot to win this one, even though talent-wise we're pretty well boned.
- Drew Brees is among those that want the Saints to chase history. Even though the team has the division sewn up, they're going to be playing to destroy us this weekend. That's...that's not good.
- Our best shot against the Saints would be to eviscerate their defense, and thankfully they'll be missing top LB Scott Fujita and CB Jabari Greer, while CB Tracy Porter is doubtful. That can only help.