The New Orleans Saints have ended their search for a defensive coordinator, by hiring Rob Ryan to run their new 3-4 scheme. NFL.com's Kareem Copeland reported the news of Ryan's appointment.
What can Saints fans expect from Ryan's defensive scheme? The simple answer is a mix of fronts, each tailored to heavy blitzing. For his base defense, Ryan has tended to favour a traditional, 2-gap 3-4 front.
That puts pressure on the likes of young defensive linemen Cameron Jordan and Akiem Hicks to draw double teams on the edge. It also means the Saints need a hulking nose tackle to occupy the middle. 4-3 veteran Brodrick Bunkley may not have the size the traditional 3-4 demands.
The Saints current personnel does feature a few weapons Ryan should find plenty of use for. Linebacker David Hawthorne is an excellent blitzer, as is strong safety Roman Harper. Ryan will scheme various pressures to free Harper and Hawthorne.
A #1 seed in the NFC hasn't lost a conference championship game since the 2002 Philadelphia Eagles. Are the Falcons going to join them or will we see them defy the odds?
Are the Atlanta Falcons for real? Are the Panthers better than their record? Let's dive into these questions and preview more Week 14 action.
MarketsFirst off, this line is on the verge of moving off the key number of "3". It sits at -3.25 across the board, so you can still get an affordable -3 for a little extra juice (odds from SBRforum).The line movement on this game was small, but significant. In the look-ahead line Vegas was putting up -2.5, but after the results in Week 13 it re-opened at -3. Money has steadily come in on the Falcons, which is the smart thing to do. For whatever reason that I'm still not aware, the so-called sharp minds out there have been fading Atlanta all season. Well guess what experts, they are 7-4-1 ATS this season. Do they have flaws? Yes, every team does. That shouldn't undermind what they've accomplished so far or undermine what they are good at. I'll lay the field goal and trust the mismatches.
The Atlanta Falcons have a chance to basically clinch the NFC South with a win over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday Night Football. Standing in their way is a Saints team that handed the Falcons their only loss this year, in a Week 10 shootout in which both quarterbacks threw three touchdowns. More fireworks are expected Thursday Night, as both offenses are ranked in the top of the league, and both defenses have shown weakness in recent weeks.
Falcons Offense vs. Saints Defense
Tony Gonzalez, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Michael Turner, Jacquizz Rodgers, and on and on, the Atlanta Falcons have many dangerous weapons. Yet, the ebb and flow of this team goes with Matt Ryan. The Falcons outstanding quarterback is 3rd in the league in completions, and 2nd in the league in completion percentage.
Can anyone stop the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? They pulled off the unlikely comeback in Week 11 vs the Panthers, but they face a much stiffer test when the NFC leading Atlanta Falcons come to town. Let's take a closer look at why I think the Bucs win streak comes to an end this Sunday.
MarketsThere's not a lot to report on this point spread. Last week Vegas had the Falcons favored by one point, but after the weekend it's re-opened as "pick em" (odds from SBRforum). In this specific match-up a fair argument can be made for either team so I understand throwing the game up as a pick em, but I see the advantages in favor of the Falcons that put them over the top. Power Rankings?These two teams are getting the most attention in the polls so far this week and there's also been a lot of debate about where they should be on the power rankings. Football Outsiders have them side by side each other at 12th and 13th respectively. Meanwhile, the national media ESPN boys have the Falcons 2nd and the Bucs 10th.