The Saints will look to consolidate their NFC South lead on Thursday night.
The New Orleans Saints opened up a commanding lead in the NFC South and look to continue their strong run when they face the Atlanta Falcons in a divisional matchup on Thursday night. The game kicks at 8:25 p.m. ET on NBC and NFL Network (live streams at NBC Sports, Amazon Prime, and FuboTV).
The Saints are coming off a 31-21 win over the Carolina Panthers, moving to 9-3 and completing a season sweep of Carolina (8-4). That gives them the crucial head-to-head tiebreaker in a tight division race, so they essentially have a two-game lead at the moment.
A dominant run game is one of the biggest reasons for the Saints’ turnaround after three straight 7-9 seasons. Alvin Kamara has been a revelation as a rookie, a game-breaking force in both the run and pass. He has 1,220 total yards and 11 touchdowns on the season, really coming into his own after the Saints traded away Adrian Peterson. Mark Ingram has been no slouch himself, racking up 1,177 total yards.
Together, Ingram and Kamara form possibly the most lethal running back duo in the league. Their emergence has done a lot to help Drew Brees, whose arm strength is noticeably declining at age 38.
Brees is still having a great season with 3,298 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 8.1 yards per attempt. But he no longer has to carry the whole load on offense, which has led to a much more balanced, multi-faceted attack for Sean Payton to work with. The defense has also been much improved and should benefit from the return of cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who’s been hobbled by an ankle injury in recent weeks and was …read more