When you break down this week's matchup between the Falcons and Saints to its most basic elements, what you have are two very good football teams- both of which are headed towards the postseason- poised to play what should be an exciting, close game on the national stage. Unfortunately, that's likely to be in the background on Monday Night.
The forefront of everyone's focus? Obviously, that will be relegated to Drew Brees and his soon-to-be passing record, one that has stood since 1984. Now, don't get me wrong: Brees is having an outstanding season, and deserves praise for all the great things he's done for the Saints and New Orleans as a whole.
However, Brees breaking the record doesn't deserve all the media fanfare it will likely receive. Surpassing 5,000 yards passing in one season, while impressive, is not a big deal in today's NFL: it's become a pass-first league. The game's new rules and the way penalties are enforced- along with faster, more agile players mind you- allows for this to occur.
Don't believe me? Then consider this: by season's end, four quarterbacks could potentially have broken Marino's passing record. Brees will have the record by a long shot, but the idea of throwing for 5,000 yards won't mean nearly as much. Remember when rushing for 1,000 yards was a big deal? Yeah, me neither.
Even further in the background of this game, however, are a few notable Falcons records that also stand to be broken, and passing some pretty big names at that:
Matt Ryan, (Falcons) Single-Season Passing
As it currently stands, Ryan sits fifth on the franchise record for passing yards in a single season with 3698 yards. However, with two games left in the year that is only 445 yards behind current record-holder Jeff George's mark from the 1995 season. Essentially, Ryan only needs one really good game or two decent ones and he'll own the record.
He also stands poised to eclipse 4,000 yards for the first time in his career and blow past his previous career high of 3705 yards. It also wouldn't be shocking to see Ryan take over the No. 2 spot on the franchise's career passing yards list.
Roddy White, Falcons Career Receiving Yards
In all likelihood, Roddy will not improve upon last year's (franchise record) 1389-yard performance. He should, however, pass Terance Mathis' career mark before the end of the regular season (White currently trails Mathis by 171 yards receiving). Either an outstanding performance on Monday Night or two solid outings should have the career record in his hands as well.
John Abraham, Falcons Career Sacks
Out of all three, Abraham is the most likely to break his respective record against the Saints. He sits only 1.0 sack behind franchise leader Chuck Smith, who amassed 58.5 sacks in his Falcons career. With Brees poised to throw the ball a bunch and Abe coming off a monster 3.5-sack performance against Jacksonville, the stars seem aligned in the Predator's favor.
Since you probably won't hear a peep about any of these records on Monday Night, I thought I'd share them with you all now. On a related note, be sure to respond to my (very serious) opinion poll below with an honest and truthful answer.
For more on the Falcons, check out The Falcoholic. For the Saints, head over to Canal Street Chronicles.