Originally written on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 11/19/14

Sunday, 1:00 P.M. ET, FOX, Direct TV (712), Sirius (NO 92, Atl 134)

Why Watch
The Falcons behaved like a kid with a new toy on Christmas morning when they over-focused on rookie wide receiver Julio Jones to start the season while forgetting the other goodies in the toy chest. Jones' October injury forced Atlanta to rediscover who they are. It was a pleasant surprise that came at the right time. Atlanta is ready to take on its chief division rival.  

What To Watch
The TGS writers judged Atlanta's trade of picks to Cleveland for the right to Draft Julio Jones to be the worst of the new century, notwithstanding Jones 2 touchdowns on 3 receptions and 131 yards against the Colts. Jones also gained 33 yards on two rushing attempts. Like I said, it was against the Colts, so chop that performance by one-third when projecting Jones' performance for your fantasy team this weekend. The real Falcons must face the real Saints. Coach Mike Smith must see the advantages of keeping Drew Brees off the field by handing off the ball to RB Michael Turner, a lot.

Turner the Burner has been the Falcons workhorse rushing 27 times in both the Carolina and the Detroit games for 139 and 122 yards respectively. Ball control will work better for Atlanta than to be drawn into a passing duel with Brees & company.

Two former San Diego Chargers rushers will take the field in this game. Norv Turner will cringe as he wonders what he could have done if his front office kept either Turner or Darren Sproles who is averaging 7.1 yards per attempt for New Orleans. Sproles has more yards in barely half the carries of first-round 2011 NFL Draft pick Mark Ingram, Jr. The Saints are, shall we say, target-rich when it comes to offense thanks to how well Brees, another Chargers cast-off, places the ball. Jimmy Graham may be the best receiving tight end on any team.  Saints CB Patrick Robinson and LB Jonathan Vilma did not practice, but the team is mum on their game day status. The visiting Saints are 1-point favorites.

Who Will Win
New Orleans' mystifying loss to St. Louis, playing without Sam Bradford, plants a seed of doubt as they face Atlanta who enters the game with a head of steam. The NFL's rolls a stellar weekend of games for division lead that are too close to call. This is one of them. The home team Falcons get the edge by the thinnest of margins.



Report: Doctors found mass on Eric Berry's chest

Jay Gruden: RG3 to remain starter against Colts

LeBron James on four-game losing streak: 'I stink'

Report: Johnny Manziel and his entourage involved in brawl

Report: Mariners sign Kyle Seager to $100 million extension

Reports confirm Ryan Mallett is out for the season


Golden Tate: Loss to Patriots was 'embarrassing'

Pete Carroll: Beating Cards ‘best feeling we’ve had all year’

Bill Belichick burns Dominic Raiola over cheap shot

Tom Brady: ‘It’s fun going to Lambeau’

Anquan Boldin after exchange with Jim Haslett: He’s irrelevant

Ryan Mallett reportedly could be done for season

Tampa paper wants the Bears to take Josh McCown back

The top 25 greatest rivalries in college football history

WATCH: Tom Brady sits down for interview with Randy Moss

UNC vandalized Duke locker room with spray paint after win

Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez highlight Hall of Fame ballot

Sales of Odell Beckham Jr.'s jersey on the rise

RG3 struggles again, Redskins offense stuck in neutral

12 amazing stats from Week 12

Hockey Fights of the Week

Three head coaches who won't be with current team in 2015

Katy Perry confirmed as Super Bowl XLIX halftime performer

10 takeaways from Sunday's Week 12 NFL action

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Greatest college football rivalries

LeBron on losing streak: 'I stink'

Report: Manziel, friends get in brawl

Tate: Loss to Pats was 'embarrassing'

Bill Belichick burns Dominic Raiola

Boldin on Haslett: He's irrelevant

Pablo Sandoval signs with Red Sox?

Beckham makes the catch of the season

10 takeaways from NFL Week 12

WWE Survivor Series results

Report: Red Sox set to add Hanley Ramirez

Dominic Raiola admits to dirty play

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.