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Monday, December 27, 2010

MNF: Saints Preview

Players To Watch:

DT Sedrick Ellis – The New Orleans defense has greatly improved this year, and has a great pass defense to go along with their ability to create turnovers. Their stout pass defense starts up front with Ellis, as the 3rd year big man is a nightmare to block and doesn’t give opposing QBs much time to operate in the pocket. Ellis has 6 sacks this year and is getting better with every game, making neither the run nor the pass attracting options for his opponents. Matt Ryan is an elite QB, but still is only in his 3rd year, so pressure will be key to rattling Matty Ice.

WR Marques Colston – Drew Brees likes to spread it around to numerous targets, but if there is one go to guy its Coltson. He’s a big play receiver averaging over 12 yard per catch with 7 touchdowns. Because of the lack of a running game, defenses have keyed on Saints passing gaming, and this has resulted in more interceptions for Brees. Look for Brees and Colston to try to establish a rhythm early, because mistakes against the Falcons will kill a football team.

RB Reggie Bush – He has missed a large chunk of games with a broken leg, but Bush has been disappointing in the games he has played in. While Bush’s statistics are never going to be exceptional, he remains an integral part of the offense. He can always break a big gain and is a threat catching out of the backfield. Bush will need to elevate his game, and deliver his best game of the season in order to give Brees the options he needs to limit his mistakes. Look for Bush to make his impact felt through screens and dump passes and end up with a big game.

Key Matchup – QB Drew Brees v. CB Brent Grimes – Grimes has the 2nd most interceptions in the last 2 seasons of any player, and the Falcons will be looking to him to rattle the Super Bowl MVP. Brees will have to be more perfect than usual if he wants to beat a tough Falcons team, so he can’t give the gifted Grimes any opportunities to pick the ball.

Why the Saints Will Win – They took the Falcons to overtime the first time around, and the Super bowl champions haven’t given up hope for the division title. Atlanta’s season has been extremely impressive, but most of their wins are close. Eventually the Falcons will be on the wrong side of a close game, and the Saints are just the team to be able to come into the Georgia Dome and hand Matt Ryan a rare home loss. Both offenses are among the best in the league so look for a shootout, but the Saints will come away with the win.

Prediction: Saints 38, Falcons 34

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