Here are the three key matchups when the Falcons (1-7) face the Saints (7-1) at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Superdome in New Orleans:
Falcons RT Kaleb McGary vs. Saints DE Cam Jordan: McGary needs to come out and establish himself against the dynamic Cam Jordan, who took to Twitter to bemoan the release of former right tackle Ryan Schraeder. The Falcons have the 13th rated pass-blocking line in the NFL (21 sacks, 6.4 percent sack ratio), according to Football Outsiders. Jordan, a four-time Pro Bowler, leads the Saints with eight sacks. The nine-year veteran is working on his fifth season of double-digit sacks.
Falcons CB Desmond Trufant vs. Saints WR Michael Thomas: The Falcons love to play their zones, but may need to consider matching Trufant on Thomas, if he’s fully recovered from his turf-toe injury. Trufant has missed the past three games, but the Falcons have an all-hands-on-deck mentality with the hopes of ending their six-game losing streak. Thomas has 73 catches for 874 yards and four touchdowns. “When you look at the completion percentage when they throw it to him, I think it’s one of the highest that I know I’ve been accustomed to seeing,” Falcons defensive passing-game coordinator Jerome Henderson said. “They do a really good job of moving him around, featuring him and putting him in spots where it’s hard to get to him.”
Falcons LB Deion Jones vs. Saints RB Latavius Murray/Alvin Kamara: Jones has 60 tackles, including seven tackles for losses. He has one pass breakup and no interceptions. With Kamara out, Murray rushed 21 times for 108 yards and a touchdown in the 31-9 win over the Cardinals before the bye week. He also caught nine of 12 targets for 55 yards. Kamara has missed the past two games with ankle/knee injuries, but is expected to play. “They’ve got good backs,” Jones said. “We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do.”
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