Skip to main content
New Orleans Saints

Saints News | New Orleans Saints |

Presented by

New Orleans Saints key ingredients to victory against Atlanta Falcons | 2023 NFL Week 18

Saints have committed one turnover in last four games en route to 3-1 record

Check out the game action shots from the New Orleans Saints game against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 12 of the 2023 NFL season.
Check out the game action shots from the New Orleans Saints game against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 12 of the 2023 NFL season.

In order for any playoff scenario to work out in favor of the New Orleans Saints, the Saints (8-8) have to beat the Falcons (7-9) on Sunday in the Caesars Superdome.

It's as simple as that, and here are a few ways in which the Saints can aid their cause:

1. STAY CLEAN: The Saints have committed one turnover in their last four games, and that lone turnover occurred during their loss to the Rams. Repeating the errors of the first matchup against Atlanta would be difficult to do, anyway, but two red zone turnovers that led to Falcon touchdowns – a Derek Carr interception that was returned 92 yards for a score, and a Taysom Hill fumble that was recovered at the Falcons' 5-yard line and triggered a 95-yard touchdown drive – were too much benevolence in a 24-15 game. First and foremost, Carr and the offense must continue the trajectory they've found and the best way to keep the groove is to hold on to the football.

2. THIN RED LINE: Again, going back to the previous meeting, those two turnovers contributed significantly to the Saints going 0-for-5 in the red zone against Atlanta. That performance punctuated a 17-for-40 start in the red zone to start the season. Since, the Saints have gone 11 of 14 in the red zone and have been much more efficient. The run game, which has been critical inside the 20, may suffer because of the absence of Alvin Kamara but Jamaal Williams is a thumper who welcomes the physicality the confined area will bring.

3. NO SECRETS: The Falcons' offense runs for 130 yards per game, eighth most in the league. Atlanta ran for 228 yards and a touchdown on 41 carries against the Saints in the first meeting, single-season highs for a Saints opponent in yards and attempts, and single-season lows for the defense's pride. The Falcons likely aren't going to mess with a formula which was so successful the first time, so expect a heaping helping of Bijan Robinson (948 yards and four touchdowns on 203 carries) and Tyler Allgeier (659 yards and four touchdowns on 180 carries). It's New Orleans' job to force Atlanta to turn to the passing game if Atlanta successfully wants to move the ball. Yes, the defensive line must hold up but as safety Tyrann Mathieu said, the Saints absolutely must be willing tacklers and must tackle well in the open field. Failing to do so will lead to another game on run defense that'll look awful on the Saints' 2023 resume.

4. SHRINK THE POCKET: Given that the Falcons would prefer to run, the Saints' preference will be to force them to pass. There doesn't seem to be a significant difference between Falcon quarterbacks Taylor Heinicke and Desmond Ridder; if there was, one would have claimed the position and kept it. Heinicke (ankle) may be the choice Sunday, and he has thrown five touchdowns and four interceptions, and been sacked eight times, in the five games he has played. He also has run for 124 yards and touchdown on 15 carries. Ridder has 2,545 yards and 10 touchdowns, with 11 interceptions and 31 sacks, and he has run for 193 yards and five touchdowns on 51 carries. Scrambling quarterbacks have given New Orleans the blues this season. Keeping Heinicke or Ridder surrounded and in the pocket will give opportunities for defensive end Carl Granderson (8.5 sacks) and linebacker Demario Davis (6.5) to add to their single-season highs.

5. RIDE THE CROWD: With this opponent and these stakes, the Superdome crowd wants to be involved in this one in a positive way. The Saints simply have to give it a reason to be its loudest and most boisterous. It won't take much; make a big play, score a touchdown early and ride the wave.


Little Caesars® is always the winning play on Saints gameday! Order online at during Pizza!Pizza!® Pregame — 1 hour before or 3 hours after kickoff on Thursdays, Mondays, and all day Sunday. You'll score fun perks and be entered to win a trip to Super Bowl LVIII! No purchase necessary. Visit for rules.

Related Content