Saints look to stay unbeaten against rival Falcons - (AP) 10/30 (1 Viewer)


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Oct 26, 2006
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Saints look to stay unbeaten against rival Falcons
By BRETT MARTEL AP Sports Writer

NEW ORLEANS(AP)—Mardi Gras doesn’t start until early February.

It only seemed like a Carnival parade when the unbeaten New Orleans Saints returned to Louis Armstrong International Airport after their latest victory.

“That was crazy, absolutely crazy,” quarterback Drew Brees(notes) said, recalling the hundreds of fans who partied along the roadside and cheered Saints players when they returned from a 46-34 comeback victory at Miami last weekend. “We had a little mini-French Quarter right there at the airport.”

These are heady days for the Saints (6-0), who’ll try to match the best start in franchise history on Monday night when their longtime rivals, the Atlanta Falcons (4-2), visit what is certain to be an electric Louisiana Superdome.

“I can only imagine it’s going to be crazy, especially going against our rival,” Saints running back Pierre Thomas(notes) said. “Every time we play Atlanta, it’s a big deal. There’s going to be excitement in that dome.”

A victory would give New Orleans its best start since 1991 and a three-game lead in the division. Recent history is on the Saints’ side. Atlanta has not won a game in New Orleans since 2002, with their last road win against the Saints coming in San Antonio in 2005, the year the Saints were displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

This year’s Saints rank first in the NFL in yards per game (427.3), third in yards rushing (154.5) and sixth in yards passing (272.8). New Orleans also leads the league in scoring (39.7 points per game).

The Saints have become synonymous with offensive firepower since Sean Payton took over as head coach in 2006, leading the league in offense two of the previous three seasons.

The difference this season is a big-play defense that has forced 18 turnovers and scored five touchdowns, including three on interceptions by new safety Darren Sharper(notes), who has six interceptions overall.

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