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Saints vs. Falcons: Mike Smith not concerned with winning NFC South

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The Falcons can clinch their division this week, but the team is more worried about the task at hand.

Chris Graythen

The Atlanta Falcons can clinch the NFC South this week, but that's not anything coach Mike Smith said he is concerned with during his press conference Monday night.

The Falcons (10-1) host the New Orleans Saints (5-6) on Thursday night. The only blemish on the Falcons' record this season is courtesy of the Saints, just three weeks ago:

"We can't concern ourselves with what anybody else is doing. We've got to concern ourselves with what we can do and what we can control. We know that this is another division game. We played them a couple weeks ago. They're a really good football team. We've got to go out and do what we do as a football team and try to take care of the things we can control and not worry about what's going on around the League."

Atlanta was undefeated before it played New Orlenas on Nov. 11. A pair of Drew Brees' touchdown passes to Jimmy Graham in the second quarter was the difference in the 31-27 victory for the Saints.

Brees and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan played nearly an identical game. Brees completed 65 percent of his passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns. He had one pick. Ryan, meanwhile, also completed 65 percent of his passes for three touchdowns, but he had 411 yards as the Falcons tried to claw back in the game. He finished with an interception.

The difference was in the run game. The Saints finished with 148 net yards rushing, while the Falcons managed just 46. The Falcons picked up just 2.6 yards per carry while the Saints had 5.1.

After New Orleans this week, Atlanta will alternate home and away games against the Carolina Panthers, New York Giants, Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Thursday night's game is set to kick off at 8:20 p.m. ET.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.