Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 11/28/12
Atlanta Falcons (10-1) face off against their hated rival New Orleans Saints (5-6) in prime time on Thursday Night.This game is the second match up of the season for these two teams. In their earlier matchup, the Saints were able to hand the Facons their only loss of the season so far.Something the Falcons have not forgotten. The Falcons are out for revenge and this time the game is in Atlanta. Atlanta has not lost a game this season at home. In fact, the last team to beat Atlanta at home was the Saints last season in Week 9. Under Matt Ryan, the Falcons are almost unbeatable at home. If the Falcons want to stay undefeated at home, then there are a few things they are going to have to do.The first thing is win the turnover battle. The Falcons started off this season with one of the highest turnover margins in the league. But in the last six games, the Falcons have a -7 turnover margin.  Fortunately they have been able to overcome these turnovers and win five of the six games. But against the Saints, they are going to have to do much better. If Matt Ryan can limit his mistakes and be the elite quarterback we all know he can be, then the Falcons will have a much better chance of winning.The second is ground game improvement. The Falcons rank 28th in the league in rushing offense.  Some people contribute this to a larger focus on the pass this year. But over his last three games, Michael Turner has rushed the ball 41 times for 78 yards. That is an astounding 1.9 yards per carry. One bright spot in the run game is Jacquizz Rodgers. In his last game, Rodgers had 12 touches for 79 yards and a touchdown. If the Falcons can use him like the Saints use Darren Sproles, then the Falcons would have yet another dangerous weapon for Matty Ice to use.The last is pass rush. With both Dunta Robinson and Asante Samuel missing practice this week, the defensive line is going to have to step up big in order to stop the explosive passing game of Drew Brees and his receiving corps.John Abraham needs to have a monster game and pressure Brees as much as possible. The linebackers are also going to have to step up and blanket Sproles and Jimmy Graham who had a huge game the last time these two teams met. If the defense can accomplish this, then the Falcons should have a chance at improving to 11-1 and  a possible division title depending on what the Buccaneers do this week.All-in-all, this should be a rather high scoring game. Both starting quarterbacks are in the top four in passing yards this year and both teams are averaging over 26 points per game. It will be a shootout from start to finish and one hell of a game. 
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