Falcons look to avenge Week 10 loss to Saints, possibly clinch NFC South
The New Orleans Saints will get together with the Atlanta Falcons for the second time in less than a month when the two NFC South foes square off at 8:20 p.m. ET on the NFL Network. The Falcons (10-1) will not only be looking to avenge a Week 10 loss to these Saints, their only defeat so far this season, they also could sew up the division crown with a win and a loss by Tampa Bay in Denver on Sunday.
Drew Brees and Michael Vick will lead frustrated teams on Monday night.
Two NFC teams in desperate need of a win will meet on Monday Night Football, when the New Orleans Saints host the Philadelphia Eagles tonight at 8:30pm EST on ESPN. New Orleans’ tumultuous offseason has morphed into a terrible start on the field, with the Saints standing at 2-5 after going 13-3 last year.
A matchup of elite quarterbacks will be the feature tonight at Mile High.
Two of the NFL’s best field generals will meet on Sunday Night Football, when the Denver Broncos host the New Orleans Saints at 8:20 pm EST on NBC. Peyton Manning and the 3-3 Broncos come off a bye week that followed the biggest comeback in Monday Night Football history, a 35-24 victory over the Chargers where Denver trailed 24-0 at halftime.
Robert Griffin III debuts against Drew Brees in the Big Easy.
The storylines are plentiful in this much-anticipated NFC matchup, as Robert Griffin III debuts for the Washington Redskins against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints at 1pm EST on Fox. Heisman Trophy winners have often struggled in the NFL, but Griffin can look to Cam Newton’s stellar 2011 rookie campaign as a blue print for this year.
We take a look at the Saints chances at making a Super Bowl run this year.
One year removed from a Super Bowl title, the Saints are poised for a rebound and are ready to battle the Green Bay Packers for supremacy in the NFC, although there is a palpable sense of urgency. With quarterback Drew Brees and the team’s core of young veterans in their prime, the Saints’ brain trust recognizes that the window to win another title is open only temporarily. Consequently, the front office has acted with appropriate haste to make deals and sign players at areas of need.
• Inside the Locker Room
With Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune
Will there be a lead running back in 2011, or do you expect another committee?
I expect Mark Ingram to become the primary ball-carrier — eventually. You don’t trade two high draft picks for a running back to sit him on the bench. He’s definitely the future back in New Orleans. How long that takes depends on his ability to pick up the Saints’ complex passing attack. Running backs don’t play in Sean Payton’s offense if they can’t protect the passer. But he should be a quick study.
Is Lance Moore the definite No. 2 option at receiver, or could Robert Meachem see more targets this season?
Moore is unquestionably the No. 2 option. He’s one of the most underrated receivers in the league and one of Drew Brees’ go-to targets on third down. There’s no reason he won’t duplicate his numbers from 2010: 66 catches, 763 yards, eight touchdowns.
Jimmy Graham is shooting up fantasy draft boards as the sleeper tight end. How will he handle the role of a full-time starter?
Graham added 10-15 pounds of muscle in the offseason in preparation for his increased role and appears primed for a breakout season. He says that the extra weight is all muscle and will not handicap his elite speed. If so, he figures to have a huge year and could challenge Marques Colston for the club lead in touchdown receptions.
• Fantasy Playoff Run — Weeks 14-16: @TEN, @MIN, ATL
Get it while you can in that opening round against a Titans team that ranked 22nd vs. QBs, 19th vs. RBs, 26th vs. TEs and 23rd vs. WRs in fantasy points allowed. The Vikings are a little tougher with the sixth-best fantasy run D, 16th vs. QBs and 13th vs. WRs. The Falcons game could be a tough title round for Saints owners as their fantasy points allowed were 12th-best vs. QBs and fifth-best vs. RBs (but 28th against WRs).
• Athlon Best Bets
Sleeper: Jimmy Graham, TE Deep-Sleeper: Robert Meachem, WR Overvalued: Marques Colston, WR Top Rookie: Mark Ingram, RB Bounce-Back: Saints D/ST Top IDP: Roman Harper, DB
• Try to Avoid
Chris Ivory, RB
With the Saints drafting Mark Ingram, who will likely step into the starting role, Pierre Thomas returning from injury and the acquisition of Darren Sproles, it doesn’t seem like there will be enough touches for Ivory to be relevant WAIT UNTIL: Never
• Draft Class Fantasy Impact
Acquiring a second first-round pick was costly, but drafting Ingram could be the missing piece to New Orleans’ run at the Super Bowl. The Saints have several options returning on the depth chart, but Ingram should take over as the top back and gives the offense a true 20-25-carry option every week. Ingram should be the top rookie selected in redraft leagues. He was the only offensive player selected, and the rest of the incoming rookies should help bolster an already solid defense.