Wednesday, 01 December 2010 17:33

New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons Game The NFL Showdown? Will Smith And Malcolm Jenkins

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Summary:  New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons game will likely be the NFL showdown; More on Will Smith arrest; Vote For Malcolm Jenkins

The Saints' game against the Falcons on Dec. 27 could be for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, which is a must for either of these dome teams.

The Falcons (9-2) will have an edge in the game because the game is in the Georgia Dome. The Saints are at Cincinnati (2-9) on Sunday while the Falcons are at NFC South foe surprising Tampa Bay (7-4).

This game could be the Saints' most important of the season. The Falcons edged the Saints 27-24 in overtime in Week 3 when Garrett Hartley missed a 29-yard field goal attempt. If that kick had been good, the Saints and Falcons roles would be reversed.

The Saints beat the Falcons in the Georgia Dome last season. Chris Redman was the Falcons' quarterback in that one, filling for injured Matt Ryan.

The Saints became a strong Super Bowl contender again when their offense got better and began playing like it did last season. Some key statistical averages for the past six games, during which the Saints posted four double-digit victory margins, compare favorably to the numbers the Saints put up last season.

"We've just taken a very aggressive mentality," said Drew Brees, the newly crowned Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. "We're kind of getting back to our brand of football with great tempo and a lot of formations, a lot of personnel groups, a lot of guys involved, taking shots downfield."

Brees has said that this Saints offense has the potential to be as good as the Saints have ever fielded.

None of the Saints receivers rank near the top statistically among NFL leaders because Brees likes to spread the ball around to different receivers.

Wide receiver Robert Meachem has been one of the players making the best of relatively few opportunities this season.

Against Seattle, in Week 11, he had only three catches, but two were for touchdowns, including one that went 32 yards. At Dallas on Thanksgiving Day, Brees didn't throw to Meachem until the final minutes, when he found Meachem for a 57-yard gain to set up the winning touchdown.

By keeping their offense producing along with a tough defense, the Saints could end up back in Cowboys Stadium for a second-straight Super Bowl.

VOTE FOR  JENKINS: Safety Malcolm Jenkins' strip and fumble recovery from wide receiver Roy Wlliams in the fourth quarter of the Saints' 30-27 victory over the Cowboys is up for this week's GMC "Never Say Never Moment."

Fans can vote for Jenkins on till Friday at 1 p.m. to determine the winner, which will be announced on Friday during NFL Network's Around the League show and then posted on{sidebar id=4}

The Cowboys had their sights on a big comeback. Jenkins' eyes never left the ball. With the Saints trailing by four points in the fourth quarter after surrendering a 17-point lead, Jenkins tracked down Williams, who had headed to the end zone, and pried the ball away. The turnover allowed the Saints to march 89 yards for a 30-27 victory.

AFTER Bengals kicker Mike Nugent landed on injured reserve, the team signed Aaron Pettrey, whose regular-season NFL experience consisted of zero games. It appeared at the time that they were merely filling their roster spot to conceal their interest in recently fired Steelers kickier Jeff Reed. But when Reed opted not to join the Bengals, they stuck with Pettrey. And Pettrey did his best Jeff Reed impersonation on Thanksgiving night, shanking a chip-shot that would have tied the game at 10 against the Jets. Now, the Bengal have given Pettrey the boot, but they've replaced him with another inexperienced kicker. They've added rookie Clint Stitser. Cut by both the Jets in June and the Seahawks in August ,Stitser has been out of the league, and he hasn't played in a single regular-season game. We'll see him on Sunday against the Saints...

The Saints and the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles announced on Wednesday that that the sale if a prestige Louisiana license plate commemorating the Saints Super Bowl victory began on Wednesday at selected Offices of Motor Vehicles.

The Saints also announced that formation of a special auction would be held for those interested in purchasing one of the first 98 specially marked plates.

The license plate features a white background with the Saints "Old Gold" bordering the plate with the Saints' trademarked logo, the Fleur-de-Lis, in the upper left-hand corner. Below the license plate serial numbers are the black and boldfaced words "World Champions" with the Super Bowl XLIV official logo interspaced in-between the words.

The plates also are available online at under the section "Special Plates." Standard yearly prestige license plate fees of $25 will apply for ownership of the Saints' Commemorative plate with an additional minimal service charge of $3.50 upon sale of the license plate. Visit the Louisiana Vehicle Office website or call (225) 925-6146 for a complete list of applicable fees and availability.

SMITH: 'MISUNDERSTANDING': Saints defensive end Will Smith said his weekend arrest in Lafayette on a domestic abuse charge was the result of "an unfortunate misunderstanding."

Cpl. Paul Mouton said in a news release that officers on patrol saw the argument escalate and then saw Smith grab the woman's hair. Mouton said the woman's injuries were minor.

Smith was booked with domestic abuse and simple battery. He's free on $1,000 bond.

In a statement released Tuesday by the Saints, Smith said what happened was "not a domestic issue" and his wife was not injured as reported. He said he is confident "that the legal process will bear this out."

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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