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Falcons may get Calvin Ridley back for crucial tilt against a banged-up Saints team

This would be a boost for Atlanta, looking to play spoiler in the NFC South.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Saints are 7-2 and sitting atop the NFC South, having dispatched the Buccaneers multiple times and looking down at the division like the world’s most annoying eagle. The Falcons have a chance this week to put a dent in that team, stopping a six game winning streak cold, tightening the margins of the NFC South, and beating their age-old rival. This is one that I hope even the pro-tanking crowd is looking to win.

That won’t be an easy road, of course, but there are some indications that they’ll be at close to full strength for the tilt, which would make a huge difference. There’s Marlon Davidson working his way back into the lineup along a defensive line that will likely be missing Dante Fowler Jr., but even more critically, the team seems hopeful that Calvin Ridley will be back in action.

Ridley has been pretty solid against the Saints, even if three of his four career touchdowns against them came in a single game. He averages over 6 receptions and 60 yards per game and gives the Falcons another potent threat against what could be a depleted Saints secondary that already traditionally has had trouble against Julio Jones. That passing game is, in all likelihood, going to be the key to winning the game for Atlanta, so having Ridley back will be critical.

Meanwhile, the Saints may come into the matchup incredibly banged up. They could be without Drew Brees, top receiver Tre’Quan Smith, Marshon Lattimore, blocking tight end Josh Hill, defensive tackle Malcom Brown and defensive back and pain in the butt CJ Gardner-Johnson owing to injury. I don’t expect all of those players to miss the game, but even a couple would make a difference for Atlanta.