Jim Henderson's Black & Gold Breakdown: Saints vs. Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons are the least-respected 8 and 0 team in the NFL. They are also the only 8 and 0 team in the NFL.

Though Falcon wide receiver Ruddy White said this week that he thinks the Falcons can go undefeated, 16 and 0, few others outside the Peach State share his optimism.

Their first eight opponents have compiled a winning percentage of just 37 percent.  The Falcons have the improving Saints and Bucs twice in the final eight games of their season.

Atlanta's four-game lead over the Bucs in the NFC South is the largest in the league, suggesting the Falcons may not feel the greatest sense of urgency on a week-to-week basis.

But never discount the steady hand of Mike Smith -- though many do -- on the Falcons' wheel.  A recent poll had him tied with the Texans' Gary Kubiak as the NFL's most under-rated coach.

His teams don't dazzle you in any area.  They just out-play you in most of them.  They seldom beat themselves with turnovers and penalties.  They've only lost one fumble this season in compiling a turnover differential of plus-10.   They're the least penalized team in the NFL, committing half as many infractions as their opponents.

Until Smith does something about that troubling 0 and 3 record in the post-season, he probably won't get his due as one of the best coaches in the NFL.  If he runs the regular season table, he might.

That can't happen with a loss on Sunday in New Orleans, where the Saints have won 7 of the last 8 meetings and the Falcons have often played with a short stick.