Strategy And Personnel

The Sports Xchange

November 22, 2018 at 1:34 am.


–T Terron Armstead, who is expected to miss at least a couple more games because of a pectoral injury, was the only Saint who didn’t practice Tuesday.

–WR Tre’Quan Smith (foot) returned to practice on a limited basis Tuesday after not practicing Monday.

–T Jermon Bushrod (hand) returned to practice on a limited basis after not practicing Monday.

–G Andrus Peat (knee) returned to practice on a limited basis after not practicing Monday.

–C Max Unger (quad) returned to practice on a limited basis after not practicing Monday.

–DE Marcus Davenport (toe), who has missed the last three games, practiced on a limited basis for a second consecutive day.

–DT Tyeler Davison (hand) was limited for a second consecutive day.

–G Larry Warford (head) practiced fully for a second consecutive day.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: WR Michael Thomas had a relatively quiet game against the Eagles last week – four catches, 92 yards and one touchdown – and he’s not likely to be relatively quiet two games in a row. Tre’Quan Smith is coming off a huge game and Brandon Marshall might be active for the first time, but Thomas usually has a big game against the Falcons. In the first meeting this season he had 10 catches for 129 yards and in five career games against Atlanta he has averaged eight catches for 108 yards and has three touchdowns.

GAME PLAN: The Saints want to contain Matt Ryan and the Falcons passing game as best they can because they know he can keep up with Drew Brees in a shootout. It starts with possessing the ball and shutting down the Falcons run game to keep Ryan in unfavorable passing situations. The Saints had the ball for more than 37 minutes against the Eagles and they would like to at least approach that number by utilizing Mark Ingram II, Alvin Kamara and a short passing game. The Saints have allowed just two opponents to rush for 100 yards, they yield just 78 rushing yards per game and the Falcons showed little interest in running the ball in the first game. Ryan will throw it a lot and have some success, but New Orleans just wants to put him in obvious passing downs, pressuring him and maybe get an interception or two.

–Saints RBs vs. Falcons LBs. New Orleans wants to run the ball and the clock to reduce Matt Ryan’s opportunities. Mark Ingram II has had his only 100-yard games of the season the last two weeks and figures to get the ball quite a bit. Alvin Kamara always gets involved in the running and passing games. Deion Jones, the Falcons’ best linebacker, who has been sidelined by a foot injury, has returned to practice on a limited basis. Saints head coach Sean Payton said he’s preparing as though Jones will play, but all the linebackers who play will have their hands full with the New Orleans running backs.

–Saints CBs vs. Falcons WRs. If Atlanta is going to win this game, it’s probably going to require big games from Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu catching passes from Ryan. Marshon Lattimore had his first interception of the season last week and Eli Apple has been playing better each week since he was acquired in a trade with the Giants four games ago. They will be busy as will P.J. Williams.