Keys to a Saints victory over the Falcons in Week 3
After starting 0-1 against the division with a home loss to the Buccaneers, the Saints must steal one on the road to even things up. Doing it in Atlanta in Week 3 is no easy feat.
After last year’s debacle in Atlanta where the Falcons were awarded nine first downs off penalties, it’s easy to see how the New Orleans Saints will have to play much better this time around in Week 3. Falling behind 0-2 against the division would be an absolute killer for the Saints, and they can’t let that happen.
Here are four things the Saints must do to defeat the Falcons.
Take advantage of missing Falcons
Two of the best Falcons players were put on IR recently: Deion Jones, who made the game-saving interception last year in Atlanta and Keanu Neal. This week, they also placed starting guard Andy Levitre on IR.
With big gaps on multiple levels, the Saints must take advantage of a short-handed team. Losing Jones and Neal are huge, as now the Saints should have a match-up advantage with Alvin Kamara against the next linebacker and safety up. Speaking of Kamara.
Feed Kamara the ball
In last year’s loss in Atlanta, Alvin Kamara received four touches. When the Saints returned to The Dome to face Atlanta two weeks later, Kamara received 21 total touches.
Kamara is a dynamic play maker that can absolutely destroy defenses. Attacking Atlanta’s backup linebacker with Kamara is like using a cheat code in Madden. It’s ridiculously unfair. Watch for him to have large usage numbers on Sunday.
Get pressure on Matt Ryan
Last year in the two Saints-Falcons games, Matt Ryan threw four interceptions. As mentioned earlier, the Falcons are missing a starter on the interior. David Onyemata and Sheldon Rankins must get penetration to cause Matt Ryan to make mistakes. Cameron Jordan will more than likely garner a double team, so Marcus Davenport and Alex Okafor should see one-on-one battles most of the game.
If the Saints can get home a couple times with sacks and force some errant throws, I have no doubt in my mind that this talented secondary will make plays, force turnovers, and give the offense great field position. Once the Saints get the short field.
Between the two games last year, the Saints went 6-23 on third down. In the red zone, they scored only one touchdown on five appearances.
With some increased efficiency, we could have seen an entirely different set of games last year. The Saints can’t squander good opportunities. Watch for third down and red zone efficiency to play a key part in this game. If the Saints win the third down battle and are more efficient in the red zone, I see a win on the horizon in Atlanta.