The Falcons (2-8) have been struggling mightily this year, including a current four-game losing streak. But the Saints (8-2) will still be challenged by facing a quick turnaround after a physical slugfest against the 49ers.
The schedule played out the exact same way last year, with the Saints losing at home to San Francisco in Week 11, followed by a quick trip to Atlanta on Thursday night in Week 12. And both the Saints and Falcons looked extremely sloppy in a 23-13 Atlanta win.
"It is what it is," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "Nobody's interested to hear how tough it is. We've just gotta get rested and get ready."
Saints offensive tackle Zach Strief said the Saints will spend the short week focusing on resting up physically and just getting "mental reps" in practice.
"The focus of the week is just a lot different in these games," Strief said. "It's not about scheme. Fortunately we're playing a team we know pretty well. You know the personnel, you know the scheme. This is about getting your bodies ready. That's the hardest part of the week."
The other good thing, Strief said, is that there's no chance the Saints will take this game lightly -- not against their oldest and most heated rivals in the NFC South.
"Pretty hard to overlook Atlanta," Strief said. "Both from the standpoint of in the locker room, that's a team that has been a rival for us, a game we feel like we can't (allow ourselves to) lose. And trust me, the people of New Orleans will not let us look past the Atlanta game."