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10 things Saints fans need to know about the Atlanta Falcons

Due to injury, the Falcons will be playing with their second string guard.

  1. The Atlanta Falcons will be without their starting left guard, Andy Levitre, on Thursday. Levitre left during the first quarter of the Week 13 game against the Minnesota Vikings with a partially torn triceps. Levitre has the most experience at the guard position with nine years under his belt. The team will look to four-year veteran Ben Garland to play left guard against the New Orleans Saints. Galand played 80 percent of the snaps after Levitre's exit last Sunday.
  1. Atlanta has struggled with injuries at cornerback. Desmond Trufant, a starter, was out last Sunday with a concussion, but is expected to return against the Saints. Brian Poole will be out with a back injury for the second week in a row. The Falcons signed cornerback Leon McFadden from the Dallas Cowboys practice squad on Monday, Dec. 4, and waived running back Terrence Magee in order to create depth at the position.
  1. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was named the 2016-2017 NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year by The Associated Press after completing 69.9 percent of his passes for 4,944 yards, with 38 touchdowns and a 117.1 passer rating. This season, Ryan is ranked No. 12 in completion percentage at 66.7 (260 of 390).
  1. Wide receiver Julio Jones finished second in the NFL and led the NFC with 1,409 receiving yards in 2016. This season, Jones is ranked No. 3 among wide receivers in yards per game with 88.6.
  1. Atlanta, which competed in Super Bowl LI, currently sits at 7-5, which is third in the NFC South behind the Saints and Carolina Panthers. The Falcons hold tiebreakers over several current wild-card contenders, such as current No. 5 seed Seattle (8-4), Detroit (6-6), Green Bay (6-6) and Dallas (6-6), by virtue of victories over each of them.
  1. The Falcons offense ranks in the top five of the NFL in four statistical categories:
  2. Yards per play
  1. No. 4
  1. Passing net yards per play
  1. No. 4
  1. Third down efficiency
  1. No. 3
  1. Sacks per pass play
  1. No. 5
  1. Atlanta's defense ranks in the top 10 of the NFL in four statistical categories:
  2. Total yards per game
  1. No. 8
  1. Passing net yards per game
  1. No. 6
  1. Passing net yards per play
  1. No. 3
  1. Net yards per game differential
  1. No. 8
  1. Running back Devonta Freeman ranks No. 14 in yards per game, with an average of 58.9. Freeman missed Atlanta’s previous two games with a concussion. Against the Vikings, Freeman rushed for 74 yards on 12 carries.
  2. New Orleans and Atlanta have competed against each other since 1967. Atlanta Falcons lead the series 51-45 with New Orleans holding a 15-7 advantage over the Falcons since 2006.
  3. Atlanta’s starting linebacker, Deion Jones, played at both Jesuit High School and LSU. Jones ranks No. 10 among linebackers with 96 combined tackles. Jones also has one sack, seven passes defensed and an interception.

Check out the Saints battle the Falcons in their final game of the 2016 season.

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