Originally written on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 10/14/14
Opponent: New Orleans Saints Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans Time: 1 p.m. Records: Falcons (8-0, 1-0 in NFC South); Saints (3-5, 1-1). Point Spread (Danny Sheridans odds as published in USA Today): Atlanta is favored by 2 with an over of 54. Key Offensive Matchup: The Falcons offense might have transformed itself into a more pass-oriented and explosive one, but when you play the Saints its still best to possess the ball and keep it away from their still-potent offense especially with New Orleans having such an awful run defense. The Saints have the worst run defense in the NFL, allowing opponents 176.5 yards per game. Expect the Falcons, whose running game has improved the last few weeks since the bye and are almost averaging 100 yards per game (98.5), to make the most of that situation. For Saints middle linebacker Curtis Lofton, who played for the Falcons for his first four seasons and was allowed to depart via free agency this past offseason, that is a particular humiliation. The Falcons-Saints rivalry always is heated, but expect Lofton to spice it up a little more this week. Look for a possible scrum or two after the whistle between him and the Falcons offensive linemen, who have been known for their physical play that extends, as their former position coach put it, to the echo of the whistle. Key Defensive Matchup: Whenever the Falcons play the Saints its about containing quarterback Drew Brees. Brees is minus one dangerous weapon in running back Darren Sproles, which should benefit the Falcons. Likewise, the Falcons are without starting outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (ankle), one of their top defenders, for a second straight week. Last week in their 19-13 win over Dallas, the Falcons received their best performance of the season from middle linebacker Akeem Dent, a first-year starter who played all of the snaps on defense for only the second time this season. While Dallas might have entered the game with the NFLs No. 3 passing attack, going against the Saints is an entirely different ballgame. Brees recognizes weaknesses and if Dent is not on his game, both calling the signals and being in the right position, Brees will exploit him. For their part, the Falcons defensive line will need to at least pressure Brees, if not hit and sack him often. In the past, the Falcons have gotten free runners on Brees only to see him elude the rush and complete big passes. New coordinator Mike Nolan cannot afford to let that happen and his complex blitzes will have to do their best to get at Brees. Inactive: For Atlanta: quarterback Dominique Davis, wide receiver Kevin Cone, safety Charles Mitchell, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, guard Phillipkeith Manley, tackle Lamar Holmes, defensive tackle Travian Robertson; for New Orleans, wide receiver Courtney Roby, running back Darren Sproles, cornerback Elbert Mack, linebacker Scott Shanle, tackle Zach Strief, defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker, defensive end Junior Galette.

Mike Pettine considered benching Hoyer for Manziel

Percy Harvin speaks out: 'I'm not a perfect person'

Report: Kobe has prevented Lakers from signing top talent

Red Sox may be ready to move Yoenis Cespedes

Alleged details of War Machine's suicide letter released

Austin Davis says Rams security didn't recognize him


LeBron: Bulls are 'much better' than Cavs right now

Redskins to stick with Colt McCoy over Kirk Cousins

Rick Pitino: Louisville will beat FSU in football

Report: Rams considered favorites to move to LA

Kobe to Julius Randle: You’re an idiot if you (expletive) this up

Slava Voynov arrested on D.V. charge, suspended indefinitely

WATCH: Boxer viciously attacks referee at Euro Championships

WATCH: Salvador Perez hassles Lorenzo Cain at media session

Lane Kiffin trashed in Tennessee political ad

WATCH: Lawrence Timmons throws up on field during MNF

10 NBA players who could be traded by the All-Star break

WATCH: Jimbo Fisher gets annoyed, cuts interview short

WATCH: Les Miles has classic reaction to dumb question

WATCH: Tennessee coach tried to trip Ole Miss player?

News station congratulates Gary Payton for breaking TD record

Did Sidney Crosby troll Flyers fans with Halloween costume?

Why Dan Mullen is not leaving Mississippi State

12 amazing stats from Week 7

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Lane Kiffin trashed in political ad

Details of War Machine's suicide letter leaked

Angry Jimbo Fisher cuts off interview

Is Kobe's deal hurting the Lakers?

Tenn. coach tried to trip Ole Miss CB?

GGG continues his reign of terror

The 6 things that mattered this weekend in the premier league

News station congratulates Gary Payton for TD record

Ray Rice could be back by Week 10?

12 amazing stats from Week 7

World Series preview

Favre: I got calls about playing last season

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.