Closing in on a potential season-changing win over Tampa Bay, New Orleans coach Sean Payton called for a reverse, a decision he later regretted after Bush fumbled the ball, and the Bucs took advantage to claim a dramatic 27-23 victory. ... Behind backup quarterback Chris Redman, Atlanta showed some positive signs in its 28-16 loss to St. Louis.
This game is the most important one of the year for New Orleans. Clinging to playoff hopes with a 5-7 record, the Saints must beat the reeling Falcons if they want any chance at grabbing a wildcard spot. For Atlanta, this game could be a window into a future that features Redman as the team's franchise quarterback.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees vs. the Falcons secondary. Atlanta has its share of shortcomings, but one phase of the game that the Falcons excel in is grabbing interceptions. The Falcons rank 10th in the NFL with 14 on the season and they have surrendered only 17 touchdown passes. Given their rash of defensive line injuries and 27th-ranked pass rush, the defensive backfield's accomplishments are all the more impressive. Brees, meanwhile, has shown a tendency at times to be careless with the football, having thrown 15 picks this year. If he makes some mistakes against the Falcons' opportunistic secondary, it could allow Atlanta to pull off the upset.
Did you know?
New Orleans cornerback Mike McKenzie leads the NFL with two interception returns for touchdowns this season.