Desperate is a great word to describe the Falcons. And that means they're dangerous. Coach Mike Smith says this has been the toughest stretch ever in his career. Atlanta has now lost four straight by a combined score of 135-61.
The Falcons are ready to do just about anything right now to stop the hemorrhaging. Here are my sideline secrets to a Saints victory.
Sideline secret 1: Do not overlook Atlanta.
It would be easy for the Saints to shift into auto pilot right now - on a short week against a Falcons team that lost to the Tampa Bay Bucs 41-28. That's the most points Atlanta has surrendered since 2011. To describe the Falcons as "wretched" - as the Atlanta Journal Constitution did - is appropriate. But the major experimenting is about to begin in Atlanta with different players in new positions as coach Mike Smith looks to turn over every stone in order to address this Atlanta losing streak. The Saints need to focus on an NFC south rival that is desperate to turn things around.
Sideline secret 2: The offense needs to dominate.
Drew Brees may only have thrown one touchdown pass this past Sunday, but the black and gold offense could get its swagger back Thursday if they concentrate. The Falcons have not played good defense: Atlanta has given up 900 yards the past 2 games, plagued by problems from tackling to giving up the battle at the line of scrimmage, to surrendering explosive plays.
There has been a glimmering bright spot for the Falcons defense.
Sideline secret 3: know where undrafted rookie free agent Paul Worrilow is at all times.
The Falcons have used him at strongisde and weakside linebacker and are considering sliding him into the middle as well. He's racked up 38 tackles in the past 2 games and last week, Worrilow was a team captain for Atlanta. He is young, but he' s instinctive and intelligent.
Looking at key injuries for Atlanta: Roddy White is a receiver who hadn't missed a game in eight seasons until this year. He's playing now, but his season has been defined by a high ankle sprain and hamstring injury that seem to continue to plague him. The falcons have used him more of a decoy than anything.