Tomorrow's the big game, as the Falcons will take the national stage at home against their hated rival from the Big Easy. The Saints, who are in the midst of their worst season since 2008, will look to play the role of spoiler on Thursday at the Georgia Dome.
This is a big one for Atlanta; that should go without saying. In fact, other than the Giants game coming up in a few weeks, we may not see a more important regular season game this year than tomorrow's.
Falcons Eager for Payback Against Saints
The lone blemsih on Atlanta's record came at the hands of New Orleans, and Thursday will provide the Birds an opportunity to seek redemption.
"We get tired of hearing about it,'' Turner said Tuesday of the Falcons loss on Nov. 12. "Each season is different. We've both been winning for a while now. When it comes down to this game, we know it's going to be a tough ballgame. We have to go out there and just handle business.''
Saints Understand Importance of Thursday's Game
If New Orleans wants to claw its way into a wild card this season, this week's game in the Georgia Dome is a crucial one. The Saints currently sit at 5-6, and dropping to 5-7 could spell disaster for Joe Vitt's club. On the other hand, climbing to 6-6 and a .500 record would give this team a solid chance at contending for the playoffs. This should give the Falcons even more motivation—not that they particularly need it.
"I know there are about six or seven teams sitting there fighting for a spot or two," Drew Brees said. "It seems like all of those teams play each other, for the most part, whether they're within the division or outside the division. If we take care of our business, we're in. That's the way we all feel. (We) can't win five games in one week though so we know if we take care of business this week then we'll worry about the next one."
Falcons Should be Feared, Thanks to White, Jones, Gonzalez
While Atlanta continues to work out some flaws in its game, their receivers certainly hasn't been an issue; but rather, the Falcons have arguably the best receiving corps in the league. Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez all deserve trips to the Pro Bowl this season, as does the guy hurling them the ball. White already has more than 1,000 yards, and Jones (with 883) should eclipse that milestone soon. Gonzalez could get there as well, as he's racked up 712 yards in the air through 11 games. Amazing.
Lofton: Saints Don't Consider Falcons as Rivals
Ex-Falcon Curtis Lofton hasn't been shy about voicing his opinion on his former employer, and the middle linebacker—as expected—had some choice words to say on Tuesday when speaking with the media. While just about any Saints fan will tell you that the Falcons are New Orleans' biggest rival, Lofton doesn't see it that way.
“Being here in this program, I feel like they see it as a divisional game, not a rivalry game,” Lofton said. "For me, personally, I prefer to go out and do my job and keep my mouth shut and let my actions speak for me instead of words. Some guys love to yap back and forth. It just depends the type person you are.”
While Lofton may not be a vocal player on the field, he's sure made up for it in the locker room. Recall just a few weeks ago, he said this: "When I was with the Falcons I hated the Saints. Now I'm with the Saints I hate the Falcons. Both of these cities hate each other."
Falcons Increase Credit Line
As the Falcons continue to push for a new stadium, their credit line has increased this week to $200 million—making their venture for fresh grounds more feasible.
“The NFL recently increased the allowable debt limit of NFL clubs from $150 million to $200 million,” Kim Shreckengost, executive vice president and chief of staff for AMB Group, the parent company of the Falcons, said in an email. “The Falcons, along with many other clubs, has since increased its line of credit for purposes of operating, capital and other potential cash needs.”