A neck injury will keep starting Saints left tackle Terron Armstead out of Sunday’s game against the Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Bryce Harris — in his third year — will replace Armstead in the starting line-up and make his third career start, though he’s played more than 50 snaps of offense in four games this year due to injuries. With Armstead out, reserve tackle Nick Becton will be active for the first time since joining the Saints on Nov. 5.
Also inactive for the Saints will be strong safety Jamarca Sanford (hamstring), wide receiver Seantavius Jones, cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste, running back Travaris Cadet, linebacker Moise Fokou and nose tackle Lawrence Virgil. The only one of those listed on the Saints’ pre-game injury report was Sanford, who made his first start for New Orleans in the team’s win at Chicago on Monday night.
Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks will play despite being questionable with an ankle injury. Returning to the line-up after being inactive last week is defensive back Corey White, who has been playing at safety after playing cornerback all season.
In Sanford’s strong safety spot, the Saints can turn to Kenny Vaccaro, who started there the first 13 games of the season. Another backup safety is Marcus Ball. Pierre Warren has been the Saints’ starting free safety and had two interceptions in New Orleans’ win at Chicago.
It’ll be interesting to see who returns kickoffs with Cadet scratched. A possibility is Jalen Saunders, who’s been returning punts since the latter part of November; and veteran running back Pierre Thomas has handled those duties before.
For the Falcons, right guard Jon Asamoah is the only pre-game questionable player who will be sidelined. A back injury will keep him out, and Gabe Carimi will start in his place.
The rest of Atlanta’s inactives are backup quarterback Sean Renfree, safety Charles Godfrey, cornerback Ricardo Allen, linebacker Tyler Starr, defensive end Stansly Maponga and linebacker James Anderson.
The Saints (6-8) can clinch a division title and a playoff berth if they beat Atlanta (5-9) and Carolina (5-8-1) loses to Cleveland (7-7) on Sunday. Alternately, they can be eliminated from playoff contention if they lose to Atlanta and Carolina beats Cleveland.