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How would you have liked the Saints' chances against Washington last week if they went into that game without Drew Brees, Pierre Thomas, Devery Henderson, Jermon Bushrod, and Jahri Evans?

And then in the course of the game they lost Jonathan Goodwin and Michael Jenkins?

Those would be the comparable players on the Saints that the Falcons played without for all or most of last week's 34-7 loss to the Eagles.

The Falcons have lost five of their last seven games including a 35-27 loss to the Saints that gave Mike Smith his first two-game losing streak as the Falcons' head coach.

He's since endured another and the Saints can make it a third with a win in the Georgia Dome on Sunday.

A loss would drop the Falcons below .500 along with every other team in the NFC South with one notable exception.

A win would give the Saints their first 13-win season in history, would assure them a first-round bye in the playoffs, and continue their quest for an unbeaten season with three games remaining in it.

Now that previously unspoken goal is creeping into the thoughts and words of the Saints as it becomes a focus of their deeds.

No longer does acknowledging that goal become a concern for losing focus but rather for clarifying and intensifying it.

In the Saint locker room the players are wearing T-shirts that say, 'smell greatness.'

Greatness isn't exactly the odor emanating from the Falcons' locker room. A Saint victory on Sunday will make the smell from their locker room that much sweeter.

An upset by the Falcons will make the smell of decay from the locker room less pungent.

A win for either, will make things betterforthe winners at least for now.

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