The Atlanta Falcons narrowly missed the playoffs after falling to the Buffalo Bills in Week 17, but they’ve still got something to play for in Week 18. A matchup with our most hated rival, the New Orleans Saints, awaits on Sunday. Arthur Smith pulled off a significant upset over New Orleans earlier in the season, which gives him a chance to complete the sweep with a win at home this weekend.
More than that, there’s an opportunity for the Falcons to officially eliminate the Saints from playoff contention. If Atlanta defeats New Orleans, it’s curtains for the Saints’ playoff hopes—and that would be a satisfying way to end the season for Falcons fans and players. Things might be a little more difficult for Atlanta based on their injury report, however, as star rookie tight end Kyle Pitts is listed as questionable.
Pitts, however, seems pretty confident in his availability for Sunday’s game.
Falcons TE Kyle Pitts (hamstring) said he believes he'll play Sunday. Needs 50 yards to set the NFL's record for rookie tight end receiving yard.— Josh Kendall (@JoshTheAthletic) January 6, 2022
"My biggest priority now is to beat the Saints because it’s the last game and they’re a divisional opponent and it’s the Saints."
Speaking to The Athletic’s Josh Kendall, Pitts “believes” he’ll play in Week 18. As Kendall points out, Pitts needs just 50 yards to break Mike Ditka’s rookie receiving yardage record. However, according to Pitts, that’s not his biggest priority.
“My biggest priority now is to beat the Saints because it’s the last game and they’re a divisional opponent, and it’s the Saints.”
It appears Pitts has quickly learned and internalized the rivalry between Atlanta and New Orleans, which should make fans happy. Hopefully, Pitts is legitimately healthy enough to play, can find a way to break the yardage record, and can help defeat the team’s archrival on Sunday. That would be quite the sendoff for what has been a largely up-and-down season for the Falcons, and would end things on a high note for Arthur Smith and Co.
Let’s hope for an injury-free, record-setting Falcons victory on Sunday.