3 key matchups: Falcons at Saints

Falcons CB Desmond Trufant vs. Saints WR Brandin Cooks: Trufant has one interception and two pass breakups. The Falcons matched Trufant with Oakland’s Amari Cooper last week, and he held him to five catches for 71 yards. Most of those were receiver screens to the outside. The speedy Cooks is a dangerous deep threat who averages 16.2 yards per catch. He had seven catches on nine targets for 69 yards last week as the Saints used their three-receiver set on 45 of their 59 plays.

Falcons WR Julio Jones vs. Saints CB Sterling Moore and FS Jairus Byrd: Jones suffered a calf injury with 5:02 to play against the Raiders, but is expected to play. He has touchdown catches of 21 and 25 yards. The Saints will use a village to defend Jones, including a cornerback, a safety and perhaps a linebacker.

Falcons SS Keanu Neal or Kemal Ishmael vs. TE Coby Fleener: Fleener was considered a major free agent signing, but has just three catches for 35 yards. Neal is coming back from arthroscopic right knee surgery and was drafted to help cover tight ends and running backs. He should add a physical presence to the Falcons’ struggling defense. If he’s not ready to play, Ishmael will get this assignment.

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