saintsfing[via]

The streak of no team winning the NFC South two years in a row since the division was created in 2002 looks a mite bit safe to continue through this year given the Falcons’ implosion. Of course, there’s no guarantee that it will be the Saints furthering the pattern of New Orleans and Atlanta trading off division titles from year to year, as they’ve done since 2009. With the Panthers nipping at their heels, tonight’s game takes on more importance for the Saints than sweeping a hated division rival. Especially with road games at Seattle and Carolina remaining and just a one-game lead.

At the same time, the Falcons haven’t given much indication that they can put up a fight against anyone in recent weeks. On Sunday, they were obliterated by the Buccaneers. If there’s a surer sign that your season is lost, it’s probably getting obliterated by the Jaguars. But getting wasted by the Bucs is certainly close.

In fact, Atlanta hasn’t lost a game by less than two scores since they beat Tampa five weeks ago at home, coming off their bye week. Over that span, Matt Ryan has five touchdowns and nine interceptions. I’m no Falcons fan, but take it from someone who had their fantasy season ruined by Matty Ice – he’s been wretched.

Perhaps the desire not to be swept by their rivals with be enough to propel the Falcons into making a game of it. Who knows? The season could just be too far gone for even one more admirable effort. For what it’s worth, Atlanta took New Orleans to the brink in the Superdome in Week 1. That was certainly a much more healthy Falcons team than the one that will take the field in Georgia Dome tonight. Just the fact that they’re getting the Saints on the road is a considerable help, even if it just another dome. Another is that Darren Sproles is inactive.

They might have an even better chance if Drew Brees’ neck actually looked like this after the Ahmad Brooks hit.