Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 11/9/11
After losing to the Green Bay Packers and finding themselves at 2-3, the Falcons had to dig in their heels. The defending NFC South champs responded with a three-game winning streak and find themselves a half-game behind the New Orleans Saints. The Falcons defense will get a chance to figure out if he can handle an elite quarterback when they face the Saints Sunday at the Georgia Dome. During the modest winning streak, the defense has dominated against inexperienced signal-callers in Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford and Curtis Painter. Some of the key players are getting healthier and some of the new acquisitions are starting to get more comfortable with the scheme. "Jonathan has been banged up," Falcons coach Mike Smith said of defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux. "He's been playing with both an ankle and a knee and I thought that this game, he looked a lot fresher. He was able to get back to his ways of penetrating, creating tackles behind the line of scrimmage and he was very disruptive." Babineaux is the anchor inside, who opens up things for defensive end John Abraham. "Jonathan has been a guy that's been very productive for us and he hasn't probably been as productive through the first eight games because he has been banged up." The defense pitched a shutout against the hapless Colts. They sacked Stafford early and he became gun shy. They picked off Newton three teams and took away wide receiver Steve Smith. They'll face a much stiffer proposition against Drew Brees and the Saints. "They've got the quarterback that can get the ball out of his hands," Smith said. "He knows where to go with it. He's not going to be surprised by what you present him, in terms of what type of zone coverages, what type of man coverages or bracket coverages, whatever you're trying to do. I think it's going to be imperative for us that we stop their run."
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