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Falcons and Saints going different direction as they play each other

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The Atlanta Falcons have found direction under a new coach. The New Orleans Saints seem to have lost their way under an old one.

The two franchises, apparently heading in different directions, play tonight in New Orleans on Thursday night football at 8:25 p.m.

The Falcons are 5-0 under new coach Dan Quinn, and except for the tender hamstring of receiver Julio Jones, they appear to be in fine shape. Quarterback Matt Ryan is as dangerous as ever. Young Devonta Freeman from FSU has been dynamic with eight touchdowns. But the Falcons have trailed in four of their five wins.

The Saints, on the other hand, are 1-4 and looking like a team at the end of a successful era. The Saints’ defense has been poor, particularly in the secondary. With Jones coming in, that seems precarious at best. Coach Sean Payton has already denied interest from other teams, including the Dolphins.

Quarterback Drew Brees should have time to throw. The Falcons are only 28th in the league in sacks. The Saints, however, have struggled against the run, so it may be all on Brees.

The Saints normally play well in prime team, winning 16 of their last 20.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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