coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 09/01/2014 11:56 AM in NFL

New Orleans at Atlanta Game Day Central

The Atlanta Falcons look to rebound from a disappointing season when they host the New Orleans Saints in the season opener.
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trytrytry Posts:1513 Followers:5
09/01/2014 01:41 PM

played the over

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coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/01/2014 02:45 PM

Should be one of the better games in week one to watch--can't wait! Good Luck!


coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/02/2014 04:31 PM

The New Orleans Saints are coming off an 11-5 season in 2013 where they lost at Seattle in the divisional round of the playoffs. Head coach Sean Payton took the preseason seriously in 2014 with a 3-1 record, with the loss coming in week four which is essentially a throw away game.

The Saints offense looks to once again be a potent unit after ranking 2nd in the league in passing yards in 2013 while averaging 307.4 yards per game. Quarterback Drew Brees lost one of his favorite weapons in Darren Sproles, but the pass catching unit is still formidable with Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, and emerging star Kenny Stills all commanding defensive attention. The Saints will mostly feature running back by committee with Mark Ingram earning the starting job in the backfield and Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas each figuring to see action; Pierre Thomas caught 77 balls last year and figures to fill the safety valve role left by the departed Darren Sproles.

On defense, the Saints are headed in the right direction after defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s schemes served to elevate the group in 2013. The addition of safety Jairus Byrd figures to further strengthen a passing defense that ranked 2nd in the league last season while conceding just 194.1 yards per game. The Saints ranked fourth in the league last year while allowing just 19 points per game to the opposition as well as Cameron Jordan had a breakout season at defensive end and made the Pro Bowl to headline a front seven of mostly young players with plenty of potential.

The Atlanta Falcons had a miserable year in 2013 going 4-12 as combination of injuries and leaky defense plagued the team consistently. The Falcons have had the HBO Hard Knocks cameras following them around while the team has preached a new sense of toughness, which has surfaced in stretches during a 2-2 preseason campaign under head coach Mike Smith.

The Falcons offense features a potent aerial attack headed by seventh year QB Matt Ryan and wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White. Both Jones and White faced injuries last season but both appear healthy to start 2014 with Jones representing one of the most lethal deep threats in the entire league. Gone from the pass catching unit is veteran Tony Gonzalez who retired, giving Levine Toilolo the chance to step up in the starter’s role in his second year out of Stanford. In the backfield veteran Steven Jackson will try to stay healthy after being sidelined much of last year and Jacquizz Rodgers will offer shifty speed and the ability to catch short passes in space.

On defense, the Falcons have a lot of work to do after ranking 31st in the league in rushing yards allowed in 2013 conceding 135.8 yards per game and ranking 21st in the league in passing yards allowed while giving up 243.6 yards per game. Paul Worrilow led the team in tackles in his rookie season in 2013 at the inside linebacker position and the Falcons made signings in the front three to limit damage at the point of attack with the additions of nose tackle Paul Soliai and defensive end Tyson Jackson. The secondary added free safety Dwight Lowery but still has a pair of inexperienced corners in Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/03/2014 03:13 PM

As preparations continue for Sunday's Week 1 matchup against the visiting New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons coordinators Dirk Koetter, Mike Nolan and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong carved out time to meet with reporters, discussing key factors for hopeful success against their NFC South rival.

-- Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter on what stands out about the Saints defense: "Their front, how hard and consistent their front plays, the consistently-good play of their middle linebacker (Curtis Lofton) and obviously, they have the new addition of (Jairus) Byrd at free safety; we've played against him before at Buffalo and have a lot of respect for his play. It's a rivalry game against a great defense and we know that it will be a great challenge for our guys, but one that everyone is looking forward to."

-- Koetter on expectations for Falcons QB Matt Ryan: "Nobody has higher expectations for Matt than he puts on himself. My expectation is that he plays up to his capabilities and continues to be the excellent leader of our team that he is."

-- Koetter on the impact of Falcons WR Devin Hester: "I must admit, when Devin came, just because he didn't play much receiver for Chicago last year, in my own mind, we were getting a great return guy and he's far exceeded my expectations as a wide receiver — excellent ball skills, very quick in and out of his breaks, a really good route runner, for a guy that's not known as a wide receiver, so, Devin will definitely have a roll on offense."

-- Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan on facing Saints QB Drew Brees: "Drew is a great quarterback; he's a Hall of Fame QB; he hasn't been voted in yet, but there's no question the guy is going in. He's awesome and he's a great one to compete against and if you're a competitor, that's who you want to go against and I think our players feel the same way. He's very good at recognizing the blitz; he's very good at getting rid of the ball, avoiding the sack in the pocket. The challenge is there, not only from a scheme standpoint, but more importantly from a players' standpoint and when it gets down to it, the players are the guys that want to make the plays and have to make them."

-- Nolan on Falcons S Dwight Lowery and the role he might play in defending Saints TE Jimmy Graham: "The safeties, both of them, will have a role in the ballgame to address Jimmy at some point. Jimmy does a lot of routes that are not only on (Lowery's) side of the field, but he'll come across the field, quite a bit, and catch a lot of balls. So, both safeties will be involved from that standpoint; it's just the way they run their offense."

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/04/2014 05:17 PM

OPENING LINE — Saints by 1 1/2

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Saints 9-7-2, Falcons 7-9-0

SERIES RECORD — Falcons lead 47-43

LAST MEETING — Saints beat Falcons 17-13, Nov. 21, 2013

AP PRO32 RANKING — Saints No. 5, Falcons No. 20





STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Saints have won 13 of past 16 meetings against Falcons. ... Nine of past 12 games between teams have been decided by eight points or fewer. ... Atlanta QB Matt Ryan was sacked career-high 44 times last season. ... Falcons have two new starters on beleaguered offensive line: LT Jake Matthews, the No. 6 overall draft pick, and RG Jon Asamoah. ... Saints DE Cam Jordan and OLB Junior Galette combined for 24½ sacks, while massive DT Akiem Hicks had 4½ sacks and 56 tackles while constantly being double-teamed. ... Atlanta’s Roddy White had an NFC-leading 43 catches for 502 yards and two touchdowns in December after being hobbled by a sprained ankle much of the season. ... Saints’ biggest move in free agency was signing Pro Bowl S Jairus Byrd, who had 22 interceptions and twice led AFC in that category during five seasons with Buffalo. ... Falcons RB Steven Jackson had a career-low 543 yards rushing in 2013 after eight straight 1,000-yard seasons. He didn’t play at all in preseason while nursing a hamstring injury. ... New Orleans TE Jimmy Graham has 270 receptions for 3,507 yards and 36 TDs over the past three seasons. ... Atlanta’s replacement for retired TE Tony Gonzalez is second-year player Levine Toilolo, who had 11 catches for 55 yards and two TDs as a rookie.

sharpsquare Posts:2637 Followers:5
09/04/2014 06:19 PM

Go Saints !!!

btb Posts:2268 Followers:163
09/04/2014 06:48 PM

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trytrytry Posts:1513 Followers:5
09/04/2014 08:43 PM

added more on over today..

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coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/05/2014 12:12 PM

The New Orleans Saints have made reaching the postseason a foregone conclusion with coach Sean Payton on the sideline.

Adding another Super Bowl title has been a much more difficult challenge.

With most of the key contributors from last year's playoff team back, the visiting Saints begin a 2014 season they hope ends with the Vince Lombardi Trophy in their hands Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

New Orleans continued its recent success, which includes a Super Bowl title in 2009, with a bounce-back 11-5 finish last season. The Saints improved to 48-16 while reaching the postseason for the fourth straight year under Payton.

The only time the franchise hasn't made it to the playoffs in the past five years came in 2012 when Payton served his one-season suspension for his role in the team's bounty scandal.

New Orleans picked up its first-ever road victory over Philadelphia in January before falling at eventual champion Seattle in the divisional round.

Now the Saints are highly motivated to advance further with perennial Pro Bowlers Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham leading an offense that should again be among the NFL's most prolific.

''We look pretty good,'' said Brees, who has thrown for more than 5,000 yards and at least 39 touchdowns in each of the last three seasons. ''Now we have to go out and put it all together. We have to put together the team we know we can.''

Brees led the NFC with a 68.6 completion percentage, 5,162 passing yards and 39 touchdowns in 2013, while throwing only 12 interceptions - his fewest since 2009. He was particularly sharp in two meetings with Atlanta, completing 72.1 percent for 635 yards with four scores and one interception in a pair of New Orleans victories.

Graham totaled nine receptions for 145 yards and two touchdowns in those contests, and has scored seven times in his last seven games against the Falcons. The All-Pro tight end finished with 86 catches for 1,215 yards and a career-high 16 touchdowns in 2013.

Marques Colston, the Saints' all-time leading receiver, and rookie Brandin Cooks are expected to be playmakers on the outside in Payton's pass-happy offense. Kenny Stills, however, could be out after re-injuring his quad during the preseason.

Pierre Thomas started nine games en route to a team-high 549 rushing yards last season, but he's expected to share backfield duties with Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson.

"They are going to have to put me on the bench, and that's going to be hard to do," Thomas said.

Despite their historic win in the postseason, the Saints are looking to end their struggles away from the Superdome. Their high-scoring attack managed just 16.7 points per game - 17.3 below their home average - while dropping five of their last six road games in the regular season.

The Falcons hope to be much improved on defense, as they ranked near the bottom of the NFL with 27.7 points and 379.4 yards allowed per game last year. However, they've already suffered a big blow with linebacker Sean Weatherspoon out for the season.

After going 36-12 during three straight playoff seasons, including a trip to the NFC title game in 2012, the Falcons are out to prove last year's 4-12 finish - their worst since 2007 - was a fluke.

''I don't think you can lose your confidence just based on (last season)," quarterback Matt Ryan said. "And I don't think we have. I think confidence is high here. I think guys expect to make the plays we need to make in order to win games.''

Ryan threw a career-worst 17 interceptions and was sacked a career-high 44 times during the team's plummet, while the running game ranked last in the league and star receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White were injured.

As a result, Atlanta drafted Jake Matthews at No. 6 overall, and he'll start at left tackle with Sam Baker going down with a season-ending knee injury in the preseason. Jones and White finally appear to be healthy, but tight end Tony Gonzalez's retirement leaves a hole in the passing game.

Steven Jackson has battled a right hamstring injury throughout the preseason as he looks to rebound after rushing for 543 yards while missing four games with a left hamstring problem.

''Last year I was stressed to make sure I was out there on the field,'' he said. ''I felt I had something to prove. And this year I said, you know what, I'm going to take it with a grain of salt."

New Orleans made tremendous strides under first-year defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who took a unit that ranked last in 2012 and made it the league's fourth best with 305.7 yards allowed per game.

Cam Jordan and Junior Galette return after combining for 24 1/2 sacks last season, while Akiem Hicks finished with 4 1/2 sacks and 56 tackles.

Free-agent signee Jairus Byrd could improve the secondary after he had 22 interceptions in five seasons with Buffalo. The three-time Pro Bowl safety is expected to play despite missing two preseason games following back surgery.

New Orleans has won six of its last eight trips to Atlanta and 13 of 16 overall in the series.