The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints collide on Thursday Night Football to open Week 6.

This is a big game for numerous reasons. The Falcons are flying high at the moment while the Saints aren't exactly marching in meeting fans expectations. The NFC South has been a lot more competitive this season, and it may come down to the final week to determine a divisional winner.

Let's preview this game and pick a winner

Atlanta Falcons (5-0)

Dan Quinn is the leading candidate to win the NFL Coach of the Year Award this year, and for good reason. Last season the Falcons won just six games the entire year, but are already 5-0. The Falcons swept the NFC East this year by beating the New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles. This will actually be the Falcons first game against the NFC South.

The Falcons still have some issues on defense, but this offense is playing at an elite level. Matt Ryan's squad ranks fourth in yards, third in points scored and eighth in passing. Devonta Freeman has given the Falcons that extra edge that they need. Freeman is averaging an impressive 4.4 yards per carry, and he has the second most catches on the team. Still, everything starts with Julio Jones. Jones has the second most receiving yards this season behind only DeAndre Hopkins.

The most impressive, and exciting, part about this year's Falcons team has been their will to win. The Falcons have trailed heading into the fourth quarter in four of their five games, yet they have rallied back to win them all. The Falcons have an extremely easy schedule this season, and they are taking advantage of it.

Next week the Falcons will take on the Tennessee Titans.

New Orleans Saints (1-4)

There's really no kind way to put it. The Saints have been terrible this season. After their lopsided loss to the Eagles, the Saints dropped to 1-4. The Saints rank dead last in defense, last in first downs allowed, and 30th against the run. This defense is absolutely terrible. The only win for the Saints so far was an overtime victory over the Cowboys, who didn't even have Tony Romo and Dez Bryant.

Marques Colston is struggling and without Jimmy Graham on the roster, Willie Snead has now emerged as Drew Brees' No. 1 target. The Saints have struggled big time to establish a ground game, so it's pretty much pass or bust offensively. Brees is a good quarterback, but he has been hurt, and opposing teams don't fear the Saints running game whatsoever.

They're down, but not out just yet. At 1-4 the Saints still have a slim chance at making the playoffs. Clearly this is a must win game for Sean Payton. If the Saints are going to win this game, it's going to be a shootout match.

The Saints will take on the Indianapolis Colts next week.


The Saints and Falcons will play each other on Thursday, Oct. 15 at 8:25 p.m. EDT on the NFL Network. The game will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. You can watch a live game stream here.


The Saints have talent, but the Falcons are just flat out better and more balanced. The Saints have also lost six of their last seven home games, so don't expect that to make a huge difference. This is big for the Falcons because the Carolina Panthers are 4-0. The Falcons should be able to pick up their first divisional win of the season on Thursday night.

Falcons win 35-24

Follow Damon Salvadore on Twitter @DamonSalvadore1