X-factor: Falcons need to win up front vs. Saints

Credit: AJC

Falcons right guard Chris Lindstrom on facing the Saints and their stout defensive front.

Credit: AJC

While a lot of attention was placed on who will replace Drew Brees as the Saints starting quarterback, to pull off the upset Sunday, the Falcons’ offensive line must handle a stout New Orleans’ defensive front.

The Falcons’ offensive line will be the X-factor in this game at 1 p.m. at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

“They are a great front,” Falcons right guard Chris Lindstrom said. “They have a couple of great linebackers, a great linebacker corps. So, it presents a great challenge for us. We are really excited this week to go out there and attack.”

Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter pointed to the improved play of Saints defensive linemen Trey Hendrickson, David Onyemata and Marcus Davenport. They also have five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Jordan.

“That gives them four defensive linemen who all flash dominance at times,” Koetter said. “Not many teams you go against have that.”

The Saints’ defense, which gives up 76.8 yards rushing per game, ranks second in the NFL against the run. They rank fourth overall in total yards allowed at 308.2.

The Falcons boast the fifth-ranked overall offense, which averages 396.8 yards per game.

Coming out of a bye week, the Falcons don’t want to be rusty.

“We want to get back to the fundamentals that we were playing with before the break,” Lindstrom said. “In a sense, knock that rust off. Get comfortable with the game plan. Then attack practice.”

Lindstrom is excited to play the Saints for the first time. He missed both games last season with a broken foot.

“It’s definitely a rivalry week,” Lindstrom said. “We are excited and motivated this week to go and get after it. There’s a mentality this week that we need to have our technique, attack and be physical within the game plan.”

Falcons’ next four games

Falcons at Saints at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22

Raiders at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29

Saints at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6

Falcons at Chargers at 4:25 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 13

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