By Shawn Lealos
Week six of the 2015 NFL season features a game that at one time looked like it could be a battle for the NFC South, but now features two teams at different ends of the spectrum. The Atlanta Falcons are undefeated, at 5-0, while the New Orleans Saints sit in dead last in the division at 1-4. The Saints are trying to save their season while the Falcons just want to keep rolling. Here is a look at the Falcons vs. Saints week six Thursday Night Football game.
Atlanta Falcons Sitting Undefeated
The Atlanta Falcons may be undefeated, but it hasn’t come easy, and there are still questions about how good they really are. In the first game of the season, the Falcons kicked a field goal with two minutes remaining to beat the Philadelphia Eagles. Atlanta had to score 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to beat the New York Giants in Week 2; 14 points to beat the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3; and had to win in overtime in Week 5 over the Washington Redskins. The Falcons can’t keep coming from behind if they want to continue to win this year.
Julius Jones Enjoying a Career Season
Julius Jones was one of the NFL’s best young receivers before breaking his foot two years ago. Now that he is fully recovered, he is back and stronger than ever. Through five games, he has 43 receptions for 545 yards and four touchdowns. If he keeps up this pace, he could come close to the single season records, although he fell off a bit in the last two games. Despite not reaching the 100-yard receiving plateau the last two weeks, he’s still Matt Ryan’s target when he needs to win.
Devonta Freeman Taking the Lead Running Back Role
When the 2015 NFL season started, rookie Tevin Coleman won the Falcons’ starting running back job. After running for 80 yards in the season opener, he injured his ribs in Week 2 and sat out until this past weekend. He lost his job, due to injury. Devonta Freeman took his spot while he was injured and did everything he needed to do to hold the role of starter. In the past three games, Freeman has run for 362 yards and scored seven touchdowns. Freeman is a workhorse running back and eats up the clock, something teams need to do when they face Drew Brees.
New Orleans Saints Rebuilding
Drew Brees looks around at the New Orleans Saints and sees a lot of strange faces. His No. 1 receiving target, Jimmy Graham, is now playing for the Seattle Seahawks. His running back options over the past few years are now limited to Mark Ingram and some backup players. The longest tenured veteran, Marquis Colston, is hurt and is looking at an MRI. Brees is struggling without any real weapons, with three interceptions and four fumbles through four games.
Saints’ Defense Ranks Last in the NFL
The New Orleans Saints had the worst defense in the NFL in 2012, but they hired Rob Ryan from the Dallas Cowboys to lead their defense and ended up with the fourth best defense in 2013. It was an aberration, as they dropped to 31st in the NFL in 2014 and rank dead last through five games this season. They have given up 409 yards and 28.6 points a game, which won’t beat many teams. Even in their win, they gave up 20 points. The only way for the Saints to win is to outscore the Falcons.