So yesterday I mentioned why I think the Falcons need to beat the Saints, and why the Saints will provide a tough game for our erstwhile birds. But I want to take a second to discuss why the Falcons have a chance to win this game, where in most years Falcons-Saints would be an extremely difficult challenge.
That reason is the defense.
Even the most diehard Saints fan would tell you that the defense has been abysmal this season. They're ranked 28th against the pass in yardage and 31st against the rush, numbers that are dismal even for a historically average Saints D. The offense has fought hard to keep up despite a few injuries, but it hasn't been enough to get them more than three wins thus far in 2012.
The Falcons are obviously an insanely tough matchup for that defense. Michael Turner has slowed down, but this is the 31st ranked run defense in the NFL and he's still a pain in the ass to tackle. The Falcons also have one of the most prolific and varied groups of receiving options in the league. If you think the Saints are going to hold them under four scores, you might actually be insane.
Therein lies the problem for the Saints. I'm not predicting a blowout—the Saints always manage to make it close, and they're playing for their lives right now—but I'm predicting a win. For the Saints to triumph, they'd have to put up their best defensive effort of the year, avoid turnovers and mistakes and hang quite a few scores on a pretty good Falcons defense. It's not impossible, but for the first time in recent memory, it looks unlikely.
I'll turn it over to you. How do you think the Falcons will fare against the Saints' defense? Please note that I would really prefer that Saints and Falcons fans do not kill one another in the comments on this one.