THIS WEEK: The Saints (10-4) will attempt to punch their playoff ticket and keep alive in the NFC South divisional race, when they travel to the Atlanta Falcons (12-2) on Monday, Dec. 27 for a nationally televised Monday Night Football contest. Kickoff is 7:30 CT.
TELEVISION: The game will be televised nationally on ESPN. Mike Tirico will handle play-by-play, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski will serve as color analysts and Suzy Kolber and Michele Tafoya will be on the sidelines. The game will also air in the New Orleans area on WDSU-6.
RADIO: Jim Henderson and Hokie Gajan will call the game on the Saints Radio Network with Kristian Garic on the Saints sidelines. The game will air live on Saints Radio Network originating on WWL 105.3 FM and 870 AM, with pre and post-game analysis. The radio pregame and postgame shows will feature former Saints Steve Korte and Bobby Hebert as well as host Deke Bellavia.
SPANISH RADIO: Saints 2010 games air in Spanish on radio station La Fabulosa, WFNO 830 AM. Emilio Peralta and Marco Garcia handle announcing duties.
SERIES: Atlanta leads the series, 45-37, with New Orleans holding a 7-2 advantage over the Falcons since Sean Payton has been head coach. The Saints have won three of the last four contests played in the Georgia Dome
The series has been defined by hard-fought contests and lengthy periods of dominance for both clubs. Since 1991, 23 games have been decided by a touchdown or less. The Falcons had a ten-game winning streak from 1995-99, which remains the Saints’ longest winless streak against an opponent. New Orleans took 13 of 16 in the rivalry from 1986-94 and Atlanta won nine-straight over the fledgling Saints from 1969-73. Atlanta’s mastery ended with a 21-19 win for New Orleans at the Georgia Dome on Nov. 22, 2000. Five games in the series have gone into overtime, including this season’s September 26 27-24 Falcons victory at the Louisiana Superdome. In games held at the Georgia Dome, the series is tied 9-9.
LAST MEETING: Atlanta Falcons 27, Saints 24 (OT); September 26, 2010 @ Louisiana Superdome – Atlanta K Matt Bryant kicked a 46-yard field goal with 1:55 left in overtime to give the Falcons a 27-24 win.
The Saints overcame three turnovers and a three-point fourth quarter deficit to tie the score on their final drive of regulation when K
However, in overtime, after the Saints defense stymied Atlanta’s first drive, Hartley missed a 29-yard attempt and the Falcons would successfully execute their next time down the field.
Atlanta QB Matt Ryan completed 19 of 30 passes for 228 yards with two TDs. TE Tony Gonzalez had eight receptions for 110 yards with one TD, while RB Michael Turner carried 30 times for 114 yards with a TD.
CONNECTIONS: Secondary coach Dennis Allen, defensive line coach Bill Johnson and quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi served on the Falcons coaching staff…Atlanta C Todd McClure is a Baton Rouge native and played at LSU...T
NEXT WEEK: The Saints will close out their 2010 regular season with another divisional contest when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Superdome. Kickoff is currently scheduled for noon (CT).