Keep your eye on ...
Falcons' ground game: In five wins, Atlanta is averaging 40 rushing attempts a game vs. only 25 in its three losses. The Falcons like to pound the ball with Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood and prefer if prodigious rookie QB Matt Ryan only passes on friendly downs and distances.
Divisional doldrums: In games outside the NFC South, the Falcons are 5-1; outside, they are 0-2. They were unable to get their rushing attack going in losses to Carolina and Tampa Bay, but New Orleans, with its 18th-ranked run defense, presents a better matchup.
Brees at his best: The Saints quarterback leads the NFL in passing yards and is second in the NFC with 15 touchdown passes. After completely shutting down a woeful Raiders passing game last week, the Falcons defense will get a chance to prove it has turned the corner for good if it can stymie Brees.