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Saints vs. Falcons: 5 questions with the enemy

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Christopher Dunnells from Canal Street Chronicles gives us some insight into the Saints.

Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saint Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

It’s Hate Week, and we’re here to help fuel the fires of disgust we know are burning deep within your soul for the New Orleans Saints.

Today we welcome Christopher Dunnells from Canal Street Chronicles, who answers a few questions to help us get to know our mortal enemy.

We’ve seen two very different Saints offenses in the first two weeks. Which one should Falcons fans expect to show up on Sunday?

In an ideal scenario, you’ll see a little bit of both versions. In Week 1, the New Orleans offense seemingly moved the ball at will against the Tampa Bay defense. On the other side of the ball, the Saints couldn’t stop Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buccaneers’ group of pass-catchers.

Fast forward to Week 2 and the Saints offense sputtered against a Cleveland front seven (victimized again by costly fumbles for the second week in a row). On the other hand, the Saints defense seemed to take a big step forward against Cleveland’s group of receivers.

The Falcons defense is banged up at each level, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see an offensive showing from the Saints closer to Week 1 than Week 2. But the Falcons receivers are more similar to the group trotted out by Tampa, so I would expect the Saints defense to have trouble at times contains Julio Jones and company.

I think the defensive showing we’ll get in Week 3 will be somewhere between what we saw in Weeks 1 & 2. But I imagine the Saints offense will find similar Week 1 success against a Falcons defense missing multiple starters.

The New Orleans defense was dominant in 2017, but didn’t look that way against the Bucs. What, if anything, has changed, or was this just a matter of that group needing to get in a rhythm?

That’s the question, isn’t it? The Saints are notoriously slow starters, but no one was really expecting the Saints to struggle on defense so mightily in Week 1. Was the defense just over-hyped? Or did the young players get too cocky and relaxed? Or maybe it was just the classic Saints start to the season. I’m not really sure.

But I’m more willing to bet one week to start the season was a fluke than was the majority of the 2017 season.

Who retires first, Drew Brees or Tom Brady?

Tom Brady should make Saints fans happy for a lot of reasons. For one, he led the Patriots on the biggest comeback of Super Bowl history against a hated Falcons team committing arguably the biggest chokejob in the history of professional sports championships. (You brought it up!)

But Brady is also a year older than Brees, and both are incredibly disciplined in how they keep up their bodies. Brady is traveling in uncharteded waters each year he puts up MVP caliber numbers at his age, and that just sets the precedent for Brees to be able to delay Father Time for just one more season.

That being said, I think it is likely to come down to joe seasons finish. If Brady wins a 6th ring, he probably considers riding off into the sunset. Likewise, if the Saints can #RiseUp for their second Super Bowl in franchise history, Brees likely calls it a career.

Final answer: Brees. (LOL, that’s adorable. - Ed.)

The NFC South is already weird. The Saints, Falcons, and Panthers were the teams I expected to be competitive, and all three are all over the place. I expected the Bucs to be characteristically bad, and I sure didn’t expect anything like this from Ryan Fitzpatrick. How do you foresee the division shaking out from here on out?

I said the same thing about the Eagles and Vikings last year, but I think the second shoe will drop eventually for the backup QB. Tampa will be smart to ride Fitz-magic as long as they can, but he’ll come back to earth. I also have no faith in the Panthers and the Carolina offensive line. I think this division will come down to the Saints and Falcons, as a pick ‘em for who finishes first or second. I actually think Carolina crashes mid season and finishes in the basement of the division, leaving Tampa Bay in third.

Prediction time: Who wins on Sunday, what’s your score prediction, and how do you think it happens?

I see this as a high-scoring game with the home team taking each game of the series. I think the absence of Mark Ingram and the Saints’ inability to convert short third downs will continue to haunt the Saints for another week. I say Atlanta pulls ahead early, the Saints grab a late score to make it interesting, but it ends up not being enough this week.

Atlanta, 31-24.