NEW ORLEANS -- The Saints venture into a building where the Falcons have never lost this season and where their quarterback has ever lost once.
Matt Ryan is 19-1 as the Falcons quarterback in the Georgia Dome. The Saints were the last team to beat the Falcons as a visitor, but that was when Ryan was out with a turf toe and the Saints still barely got by Chris Redman and the Falcons, 26-23, to run their record to 13-0 last year.
Good fortune has certainly played a part in the Falcons' success. The ball has bounced their way and they've been remarkably free of serious injury to their starters. But it's been solid, if not overly spectacular play, that has them on the verge of becoming the NFC's top seed in the playoffs.
They are a gaudy +13 in turnover differential. They lead the league in time of possession. They've converted a league-best 11-13 fourth down opportunities. They are second to the Saints in third down conversions offensively.
They've got a confident and composed quarterback who's thrown 16 more touchdowns than interceptions. Drew Brees has thrown 12 more touchdowns than interceptions. They've got a 1200 yard rusher in Michael Turner who has 11 touchdowns on the ground. They've got a major threat outside in the passing game in Roddy White and a major threat inside in Tony Gonzalez to complement him.
They've got a defense that's produced 10 more interceptions than the Saints have picked off. They've got steady special teams with a field goal kicker in Matt Bryant who beat the Saints with an overtime field goal in the first meeting. That's the fifth time in this series that overtime was needed to decide the outcome. It'll be a major surprise if Monday night's game isn't.