Atlanta Falcons Chances for a Win This Week Helped with RB Darren Sproles Out

Scott CarasikContributor IIMarch 30, 2017

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 07:  Darren Sproles #43 of the New Orleans Saints misses a catch during the game against the San Diego Chargers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 7, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles is out for Sunday's game versus the Atlanta Falcons. This only helps the Falcons as they look to continue an eight-game winning streak that has them sitting at 8-0 right now.

According to Mike Triplett of, four Saints were ruled out for this weeks game.

#Saints official injury report: Darren Sproles, Strief, Galette, Roby all ruled out vs. #Falcons

— Mike Triplett (@TripTP) November 9, 2012

While OT Zach Strief, DE Junior Galette and WR/specialist Courtney Roby are important for the Saints' success, Darren Sproles has been the Falcons' worst nightmare the past two seasons, especially when he is combined with the dynamic tight end Jimmy Graham in the passing game.



Darren Sproles creates trouble for the Falcons gameplan

While Sproles hasn't lit up the box score against the Falcons, he has been the defense's main focus when the Falcons have played the Saints. It makes it tough to game plan for both Sproles and Jimmy Graham when both are healthy and playing.

Sproles being out allows the Falcons to key in on Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston. By doing this, the team can play it a bit more straightforward and throw out some more blitzes. This will also allow the Falcons to confuse Brees with more of the "amoeba" style defenses.



The Falcons depth at linebacker won't be tested as much

Sean Weatherspoon is fighting an ankle injury and will also be out. With the Falcons playing more pseudo-3-4 packages, it only helps the linebacker depth that Sproles is out. They won't have to commit anyone to cover him directly.

Also, don't be surprised to see the Falcons running their three DT alignment. They align in an unbalanced 3-4 set with Biermann and Abraham also on the field and create one of the best run defense sets the Falcons could have.



John Abraham can pin his ears back.

Without Sproles, the Saints have a much weaker screen game. This will allow Abraham to pin his ears back and get in the face of the highly mobile, but also miniature sized quarterback. With Abraham harassing Brees all day, he will be making much worse decisions. 

And who knows? Maybe Abraham can duplicate a couple of plays he made a few years back where the Falcon intercepted Brees and almost ran it back for a touchdown after sacking him and forcing a fumble earlier in the game.


With Darren Sproles out, the Falcons should have a much easier time trying to win this week. They will be able to key on Drew Brees and turn this into a chess match between Brees and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. The problem is, Brees will be without the Queen.


Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL Draft Website and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.