Key matchups for the Saints against rival Falcons

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Oct 15, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn and New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton meet at the end of their game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints won, 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 15, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn and New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton meet at the end of their game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints won, 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oct 15, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (59) against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Falcons 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 15, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (59) against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Falcons 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

Saints Linebackers vs. Falcons Running Backs

Devonta Freeman rushed for over 1,000 yards last year and added another 500 in receptions. He’s explosive and elusive. And second year RB Tevin Coleman is emerging as a dangerous receiving threat out of the backfield. With the spotlight on the Saints’ secondary, the Saints won’t be able to fully commit to run support. Keeping Freeman and Coleman in check will be on the Saints linebackers.

If the Saints can suit up Dannell Ellerbe, it’ll be a huge boost. Ellerbe is an instinctive and explosive player who can really make a difference against this Atlanta team. If he’s not able to play, the Saints still have a talented player in Craig Robertson.

It seems entirely possible to me that the Saints will elect to play both players, taking James Laurinaitis off the field on third downs and passing situations. The tackling and reaction speed of Ellerbe and Robertson should allow the Saints to cheat towards the receivers in coverage.

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