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Falcons, Saints Rivalry Remains Heated
The Falcons and Saints have been rivals longer than most of us have been alive, but with both organizations having experienced lots of success in recent years, the hatred between the two has only grown. There is In the midst of a disappointing season, New Orleans will be looking to play the role of the spoiler on Sunday and prevent Atlanta from attaining a perfect season.
"There is hatred," said Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton.
He would know. He spent the first four years of his NFL career playing for the Falcons before doing the unthinkable and signing this offseason with the Saints.
"Both cities, both teams, you don't like either person," he said. "You don't like the city. You don't like anything about them. You don't like the colors. And it has always come down to the last three minutes of the game. It's always been a very physical game.
"When I was with the Falcons I hated the Saints. Now I'm with the Saints I hate the Falcons. Both these cities hate each other. There is no love loss. It's a divisional game, so we'll get it on. It makes it fun."
The Saints may have a poor record and one of the NFL's worst defenses, but that doesn't mean the Falcons can sleep on their offense, which is still run by six-time Pro Bowler Drew Brees.
"He makes everyone around him a better player, which is exactly what guys like Peyton and Tom do," Nolan said. "They all make everyone around them very good. The stats all support everything he does. They’re No. 1 in a lot of things."
Clabo Leading Pro Bowl Campaign for McClure
The longest tenured player on the 2012 roster, Todd McClure has been as loyal to the Falcons as anyone in franchise history. Unfortunately, his strong career has gone relatively unnoticed by most people outside of Atlanta, and one of his fellow lineman is trying to change that. Right tackle Tyson Clabo has taken it upon himself to run the McClure for Pro Bowl campaign. If Clabo is successful, it would be the center's first Pro Bowl bid in his career, which began in 1999.
"I’m a big fan of Todd McClure," Clabo said. "He’s been doing this a long time. He’s one of the better centers in the league, and I think that it’s a joke that he’s never been to the Pro Bowl. It’s just time. We are having a great year, and I think he deserves it."
The Falcons passing attack has reached a new level of effectiveness this season, and much of that success can be attributed to their execution of the play action. In spite of Atlanta's generally poor running game, Matt Ryan has been able to catch opposing defenses off guard with the PA—earning a 117.8 QB rating and 8.5 yards per attempt in such plays.