NFL: Monday night footballby Tucson Citizen on Sep. 25, 2006, under Sports
Atlanta Falcons (2-0)
at New Orleans Saints (2-0)
Time: 5:30 p.m. TV: ESPN
Surface: Artificial turf
Sheridan’s line: Falcons by 4
Keys to the game: Despite two victories to start the season, the Saints don’t stand much of a chance going toe to toe against the Falcons for four quarters, so they need to ride the wave of emotion of the first game in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans hasn’t faced an offense as balanced or with as many weapons as Atlanta’s and must find a way to slow a running game averaging a league-best 279 yards a game. Falcons quarterback Michael Vick has shown more accuracy this season, but the Saints still need to make him prove he can hurt them through the air.
New Orleans has done a good job avoiding penalties – eight in two games – but QB Drew Brees can’t afford the turnovers he overcame in Green Bay. The Falcons’ defense is too fast and opportunistic for the Saints to fall behind early – and New Orleans’ receivers will be overmatched by CBs DeAngelo Hall and Jason Webster.