PFF Preview: Falcons @ Saints, Week 16
Following their 31-15 victory over the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, the New Orleans Saints (6-8) sit atop the NFC South, however, the division remains unclaimed. The Atlanta Falcons (5-9) come to town with the hopes of remaining undefeated within the division and handing the Saints their fifth consecutive loss at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Similar to their Week 1 matchup, both Matt Ryan and Drew Brees should highlight this game as both opposing defenses have struggled throughout the season. For Ryan, it may be difficult to better his Week 1 performance in which he earned a pass grade of +5.7, the best he’s produced since the 2012 season. However, with the protection Ryan Schraeder has provided at right tackle, he may once again best the Saints’ secondary.
Since being inserted into the starting lineup in Week 8, Schraeder has kept Ryan upright, allowing just one sack and two hits. Over the last three weeks, having given up just four hurries and four total pressures, Schraeder is the third-ranked right tackle with a pass protection grade of +4.5 and has earned a Pass Blocking Efficiency(PBE) of 97.6, 14th among qualifying tackles.
In that same three-week stretch, rookie left tackle Jake Matthews has performed well after struggling for most of the season. Matthews has earned his first green grades in pass protection, accumulating a grade of +4.0, which is fourth among all LTs. One sack, two hits, two hurries, and five total pressures have earned him a PBE of 96.8, slightly lower than Schraeder, although still a respectable 20th among qualifying tackles.
These two will strive to keep Ryan’s jersey clean, as the Saints’ pass rush led by Junior Galette and his rush grade of +28.2 hope for a different outcome this time around. With 43 hurries, 13 hits, and nine sacks, Galette’s Pass Rushing Productivity (PRP) of 13.0 ranks second among 57 qualifying 4-3 defensive ends. With a pass rush percentage of 61.3% from the right side of the line in comparison to 26.5% from the left side, Matthews is likely to see more of Galette this Sunday.
Here are three more notable numbers for each side:
Desmond Trufant – Trufant has the ninth-best coverage grade of all cornerbacks at +8.3.
Matt Ryan – When facing pressure, Ryan has thrown four touchdowns and four interceptions, a PFF Rating of –3.0.
Jacquizz Rodgers – Rodgers’ pass blocking grade of +4.5 ranks third on the Falcons; he has allowed one hurry on 65 pass blocking snaps.
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees – An Accuracy Percentage of 81.6% on deep balls (20+ yards) is tops in the league.
Zach Strief – Strief (+6.1) has been the Saints’ best lineman and ranks 20th overall among tackles.
Curtis Lofton – With 50 stops, Lofton leads the Saints in that category.
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