Saints vs. Falcons: 10 Key Questions For Monday Night Football
Saints versus Falcons is bound to be a fantastic finale to a spectacular Monday Night Football season.
This game has significant implications for how the NFC playoff picture will shake out and the Falcons can clinch the NFC South with a victory.
It should have its usual offensive-flair, timely defense and extremely loud fans that we've come to love in this new-age, dome-team rivalry.
Here are the biggest questions going into this colossal contest...
How Will The Saints Cover Roddy White?
Roddy White leads the NFC in targets (166) and receptions (106).
He averages nearly 92 yards per game and has scored eight touchdowns thus far.
Safe to say he's a tough cover.
The Falcons receivers aren't extremely dangerous outside of White, but even with double coverage White has been very consistent this year.
Can Drew Brees Keep The Ball Away From The Falcons Secondary
Drew Brees threw 31 touchdowns this year, but he's also tossed 19 interceptions.
He's thrown an interception in every game since Week 5.
How Will The Saints Cover Tony Gonzalez
We all know what a good tight end can mean to an offense and Gonzalez is still one of the league's best.
However, Gonzo only has 11 catches in his last two games and hasn't totaled more than 38 receiving yards.
He's still a threat, but maybe not as fearsome as he used to be.
How Will The Falcons Cover The Saints Deep Receiving Corp
Marques Colston leads the team with 1002 yards, but Lance Moore's eight touchdowns are a team high.
Don't forget Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem, Jimmy Graham and Jeremy Shockey.
Drew Brees loves to spread it around and that's what makes the Saints so hard to defend against.
How Will The Falcons Use Michael Turner and Can The Saints Stop Him
For as much publicity the Falcons pass offense gets, their staple is pounding the rock with Michael Turner.
The Saints are 20th in the NFL in stopping the run and they'll get a heavy dose of Turner tonight.
It won't be easy.
Can The Saints Pass Rush Get To Matt Ryan?
Matt Ryan stands behind one of the most solid offensive lines in the NFL and offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey keeps Ryan on the move to limit his takedowns.
The Saints' 29 sacks rank New Orleans 20th in the NFL, but Gregg Williams dials up very creative blitz packages for his linebackers.
Should be a fun battle to watch.
Can The Saints Protect Drew Brees?
The Falcons only have 27 sacks on the year and Drew Brees is remarkable at getting the ball out of his hands.
Whether Atlanta can get to Brees or not will be a major factor in this game.
Will Matt Ryan Ever Lose at Home?
Matt Ryan has only lost at home once.
He always seems to get it done in crunch time especially under the Georgia Dome's roof.
Will this change tonight?
Can The Saints Establish Some Type Of Run Game
It's been a running back carousel for the Saints this season because of injuries and inconsistent play, but if the Saints want to be successful, they need to establish the run to keep the Falcons defense honest.
The Saints have rushed for the 26th most rush yards this year, and their 334 attempts are 30th in the league.
When they run well, they're nearly impossible to beat.
Who Will Win The Turnover Battle?
After leading the NFL in interceptions last year, the Saints defense only has nine picks this year.
Brent Grimes and the Falcons on the other hand, are fifth in the NFL with 20 aerial turnovers.
Don't sleep on the Falcons though, they've forced 22 fumbles and have recovered 12 of them.