Oct 15, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) is covered by New Orleans Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux (40) during the first half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Jairus Byrd, Vonn Bell and Sterling Moore vs. Falcons WR Julio Jones
On paper, this is a HUGE mismatch that favors Atlanta.
Julio Jones is widely recognized as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. He leads the Falcons with 76 receptions for 1,313 yards and 5 touchdowns (the next closest Falcons receiver is Muhammad Sanu, with only 55 catches for 621 yards).
The Saints meanwhile, have a depleted secondary that has been torched by opposing passers, particularly early in the year. New Orleans top cover man, Delvin Breaux, has missed the majority of this season with injury, including the earlier contest against the Falcons.
In that loss, the Saints held Jones to only 1 catch for 16 yards. The shutdown was led by cornerback Sterling Moore, who also has historically played well against Jones dating back to his days as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.
Moore will need a ton of help from his safeties in this one, primary rookie Vonn Bell and the much-maligned Jairus Byrd. Byrd by far played his best game in three years as a Saint last week against the Buccaneers. He pressured the line of scrimmage incredibly well, and had 2 key interceptions in the New Orleans victory.
Byrd was the poster child for how pathetic the Saints defense played in the earlier contest against Atlanta; getting burned repeatedly and flailing helplessly at ball carriers all night long.
Some have suggested that Byrd’s performance last week may have gotten him off “the chopping block” and saved him from being an off-season roster cut. If even a shred of that is true, then Mr. Byrd had certainly better show up to play in this one.
Up until their past meeting, Jones has had some big games against the Saints defense, but If the New Orleans secondary is able to contain Jones and the other Atlanta receivers, that will greatly assist the Saints linebackers — who have a gigantic problem of their own….