Falcons, Saints play games?

I would like to stay with the true spirit of the season and not make any harsh allegations. But I’m reading through the injury reports from New Orleans and Atlanta and starting to think the Saints and Falcons might be playing some reindeer games.

Each team put out its final injury report Saturday afternoon for Monday night’s huge NFC game and, to be brutally honest, I can’t help but wonder if both teams are going a little beyond what’s necessary.

The Saints put out an injury report that includes 12 players. I’m not even going to waste your time by touching on the first 10 players on the New Orleans list. Every one of those guys went through a full practice on Saturday and every one of them is listed as probable. Other than perhaps trying to confuse the other team a bit, I don’t think there really is any need for that, so let’s just skip to the two New Orleans players that don’t fall into the category of guys who obviously will be fine for Monday night.

The Saints are saying tight end David Thomas is out, which might be the only totally above-board item on their list. Thomas had arthroscopic knee surgery last week and it’s obvious he won’t play Monday night. The Saints also are listing running back Chris Ivory as questionable with a hamstring injury. Ivory has been held out of practice all week. Gee, with Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush back from injuries and Julius Jones healthy, I think it’s pretty safe to guess we won’t be seeing Ivory on Monday night.

Atlanta’s injury report only has six guys on it, but it’s basically just as transparent. All six Falcons are listed as questionable, but all six participated fully in Friday’s practice. In other words, I’d be shocked if any of the six sit out Monday night.

Defensive end John Abraham is questionable with a groin injury. But Abraham, mainly because of his age, is questionable just about every week. Unless he has a major setback between now and Monday night, I think it’s pretty fair to assume Abraham will play.

The Falcons also are listing defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (shoulder), linebacker Curtis Lofton (knee), fullback Ovie Mughelli, receiver/return man Eric Weems (knee) and receiver Roddy White (knee) as questionable.

But I don’t think there’s much question all six of those guys will play Monday night as the Falcons attempt to clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.