On Thursday night, the Atlanta Falcons defeated the New Orleans Saints 23-13 in the Georgia Dome. The impact of the win goes far beyond the standings, though.
After the Saints beat the Falcons 31-27 in Week 10 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, linebacker Scott Shanle had this to say:
“They’re like our little brothers. Deep down they know they can’t mess with us even when we are having a down year.”
That’s disrespect to the nth degree. Atlanta needed to prove “little brother” has had it with the beatings. And indeed they did prove it.
Since Drew Brees and Sean Payton went to New Orleans in 2006, the Saints have defeated the Falcons 11 out of 14 times.
Since being drafted by the Falcons in 2008, Matt Ryan has posted a 3-7 record against the Saints.
At 5-6, New Orleans had faint playoff hopes after starting the season 0-4. The loss against Atlanta puts them at 5-7, and even if they were to win out, a 9-7 record still may not be enough to squeeze into the NFC wild card.
Furthermore, the win just about secures the NFC South for the Falcons. If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lose against the Denver Broncos, the Falcons win the division crown.
The Falcons own the all-time series 47-41, but they will need several consecutive wins to make the recent history series look less lopsided.
Atlanta’s recent struggles against New Orleans were repeatedly talked about in the media. This win on primetime television helps the Falcons to garner a little respect. Of course, they’re not going to get much respect until they get a victory in the postseason.
In any case, it’s always nice to beat a nemesis.