Falcons v Saints is an NFC South grudge match, says Kevin Cadle
Kevin Cadle thinks an upset is possible in the NFC South grudge match between the Falcons and Saints.
Last Updated: 10/11/12 2:44pm
The Falcons boast the only remaining perfect record in the NFL but the form book could well go out of the window in Louisiana, according to our NFL man Kevin Cadle.
Atlanta Falcons (8-0) @ New Orleans Saints (3-5), Sun 5.30pm, Sky Sports 3 HD
This is a rivalry between two organisations which really don't like each other. When it gets to that point, anything can happen. Last year the Saints kind of ran up the score on the Falcons and that was not appreciated. They will be looking for payback.
I'm not buying the Falcons yet. They are undefeated and it looks like they could win the majority of the games that they have left on their schedule. But they just scraped by in the last couple of weeks against some pretty mediocre teams.
For me it will come down to - and I'm sure the organisation knows this - what is going to happen when they get to the play-offs. Are they going to be one and done again? That is what it's all about with this team. It's a little way down the road but that's what it's all about for them.
I'd say Matt Ryan is an MVP candidate. When your team is undefeated and you are the only undefeated team, the one who usually gets the accolades is the quarterback.
It's not really happening with the running game, they've really cut back the workload of Michael Turner. They want to make sure that he's fresh at the end of the year rather than running him like a bell cow and then when it comes to the play-offs he's not really there because they've run him out of gas.
But the receiver combination Ryan has with Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez as the tight end, if you look at three people across the board then I don't know if there is a team in the NFL which has what they have.
The Saints have been up and down. Finally they've got Joe Vitt in as the main coach after his bountygate suspension. He was the guy that was ordained by Sean Payton to take over the team originally but he had to sit out the first six games himself.
I think getting Joe back and getting a few games under the belt with him will make the comfort level start to increase. They are still the same team they were on the offensive side of the ball, although they are maybe running it a little better.
But defensively they're atrocious, they are on pace to become the worst defensive team in the history of the NFL. If you don't stop somebody at some time then it's really difficult to be a competitive team. I think that's the thing that's holding them back and it looks like it's not going to repair itself any time soon.
Their chances of getting a wildcard for the play-offs are slim but if you look at the NFC East, the second and third placed teams are 3-5. The South really has no-one in contention. The North has Minnesota at 5-4 but Minnesota are about to lose their way.
I don't see anybody coming from the West, Seattle's 5-4 but I don't really see Seattle holding on. There is a shot that if any of those 3-5 teams get hot, they could make the play-offs.
It was recently reported that suspended Saints head coach Sean Payton's contract extension has been nullified by the NFL. Basically the Saints have to re-negotiate him a new contract. He is a free agent so I'm sure he'll have conversations with other people to draw the price up but I don't see him leaving New Orleans.
The New Orleans organisation is better than the Dallas organisation and has a better quarterback. I really don't see him taking off and messing with Jerry Jones.
Kev's Call... I'm going with the upset and picking the New Orleans Saints. The Falcons still have some problems defensively and I think New Orleans will upset them.