By Brandon Dyer
As a Falcons fan, it broke my heart to see this team miss out on the playoffs after an overachieving season that not even optimistic fans like myself seen coming. That being said, the Falcons will take the field one last time this season, and who else better to face than the rival Saints.
For those that haven’t kept up with all the playoff scenarios for the wild card spots in the NFC, let me provide you with what the Saints need to happen to make the playoffs: a win against the Falcons and a 49ers loss to the 2-seeded Rams.
What a way it would be for the Falcons to end the season with a win against their most hated rival while simultaneously eliminating them from playoff contention in their last home game of the season.
This will be no easy task for the Falcons though, as the Saints will come in just as hungry for that final playoff spot. The Falcons won the earlier meeting between the two teams at Mercedes-Benz Superdome this season 27-25.
This is still a game that the Falcons could likely lose, as they didn’t look all that impressive in that game.
The key to a Falcons win on Sunday is their ability to stop the run, something that they have struggled to do all season, ranking 26th in the league in rushing yards allowed.
Both teams ran the ball 25 times in their previous meeting, but the Saints outgained the Falcons 109-34. This is a stat that cannot be as dominant in favor of the Saints Sunday if the Falcons want to send the Saints home for good this season.
Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts is still questionable for the game, so the Falcons may have to rely on running the ball more than they are accustomed to if he doesn’t play, leaving most of the target workload on Cordarrelle Patterson, who had six catches for 126 yards in their last contest.
It is hard to believe that the season will be over Sunday, but since the playoffs are out of reach for the Falcons, nothing would put a bigger smile on my face than watching the Aints get sent home packing due to a loss to the Falcons.