Drew Brees has thrown 19 interceptions this season and Saints fullback Heath Evans defends his quarterback, saying Brees played with a left knee injury that was much worse than publicly disclosed. "Everyone knew he had some type of injury going on, but it was probably an MCL injury that no one else would have dared played with, and he didn't miss a beat," Evans told the Boston Globe. "He was out there warring through for his teammates, the betterment of our team. Lord knows we're nowhere near as good without him suited up for us. So I think the majority of some of those interceptions came during that span when he was really fighting through injuries that a lesser man would have shut it down and said, 'Forget the team, I'm worried about me and I don't want to get myself hurt worse.' He said, 'No, I'm not going to miss a practice snap, much less a game snap.' I thought that those interceptions came from throwing off one leg for six weeks."...
How the media sees the game:
Peter King, SI.com: "Love this game. I see it being a keepaway job by the Falcons for a couple of reasons. Atlanta, in the first meeting of the teams this season (Atlanta 27-24) ran for 202 yards. And last week, the Ravens strafed the Saints for 208 rushing yards. In other words, if you get Michael Turner and Jason Snelling in your fantasy league playoffs this weekend, you'll be very happy. Falcons 27, Saints 20.
Greg Coste, MiamiHerald.com: "Monday nighter finds Falcs playoff qualified, but seeking the division title and home-field advantage throughout, and defending champ Saints looking to clinch playoff spot. Atlanta is 6-0 at home and scorching hot, but I like the Cajuns in an upset. Saints 30, Falcons 27.
Sam Farmer, LATimes, com: "New Orleans has played well and took the Falcons to overtime in Week 3, but Atlanta's sterling record at home is no fluke. The Falcons are tough. Atlanta 24, New Orleans 21.
Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com: "The Falcons have clinched a playoff berth and can clinch a home-field advantage in the NFC postseason with a victory here. They would do it by beating Carolina the following week, but you know they would love to do it against the Saints. Atlanta is improving on defense as the younger players grow up, but but could have trouble with the Saints' pass offense. I think the difference is Michael Turner, much like Ray Rice did last week, he runs through the Saints defense. Falcons 28, Saints 23.
FORMER Saints receiver Donte Stallworth, now with the Baltimore Ravens, has been rather quiet in his first season back after a one-year suspension. He suffered a broken foot before the season started, and returned in Week 10. He has caught passes in four games this season and was a healthy scratch last week against the Saints. Despite the lack of production, Stallworth has clearly made an impact in the Ravens locker room. His teammates voted him the team's Ed Block Courage Award winner of 2010. The award is given out to a player that exemplifies a "commitment to sportsmanship and courage."..
LSU’s T-Bob Hebert has a few Christmas memories with his father, former Saints and Falcons quarterback Bobby Hebert. The LSU starting guard was only 7 when his dad retired from the NFL, so he mainly remembers just flashes from Bobby's career. On Christmas Eve, 1995, the 6-year-old T-Bob was in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta with his mother, two older sisters and a younger brother watching their father play in the twilight of his career with the Falcons. The scenario was similar on that date to the one the Saints are facing, but it was the 8-7 Falcons who needed a win over 11-3 San Francisco to gain a playoff berth. Falcons starting quarterback Jeff Gorge left the game with a sprained neck with 1:53 to play in the first half, and it was up to Hebert. "He came in and led them to a comeback," said T-Bob. "It was fun. But I got gipped. My little brother, who was 2, got all over the front page the next day with my dad holding him. I got nothing, but it was great."...
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