It’s the one rivalry that everyone knows about, but rarely gets the credit it deserves.
The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints have had a distaste for each other for years and years, it seems that it only gets worse over time. No matter how good or bad these teams are when they face each other, the game always finds a way to stay in reach.
Over the past three seasons the Saints have held the advantage over the Falcons, and have went on to win the NFC South as well. Both teams have elite offenses, but what usually separates them is coaching… and Drew Brees.
Since arriving to New Orleans, Brees has had the upper hand on the Falcons, and it doesn’t make things better when the weapons around him are good as well.
Michael Thomas has improved each season in the league and is now considered a top-five receiver. Alvin Kamara is one of the fastest running backs coming out of the backfield, and he can cause mismatches in the passing game as well. Though I only named two people, those are who most of Brees’ targets went to last season.
The Saints added Emmanuel Sanders in the offseason, so that will be another player the Falcons defense has to watch out for. With the lack of experience at cornerback after the departure of Desmond Trufant, the secondary could be in trouble.
Deion Jones always has his way against the Saints, whether it’s containing Kamara, or intercepting a pass from Brees. He’ll always be a key component in these games.
The Saints offense is undoubtedly good, but their defense could be even better.
Cameron Jordan continues to be a wrecking force in the league, along with Sheldon Rankins and Marcus Davenport alongside him. The secondary is stout with Marshon Lattimore, Janoris Jenkins, and new addition Malcolm Jenkins.
This defense matches up well with the Falcons, and for them it’s all about getting separation. The key matchup will be Julio Jones and Lattimore, as both have got the best of each other over the years.
Exposing their linebackers will be important, which means Todd Gurley will play a big factor in the run game. If he’s able to read the defense and have good blocking from the offensive line, he’ll eat on this defense.
At the end of the day, it sometimes doesn’t matter who has the upper hand in these games. Rivalry games are won in the last minute of the game. It will be interesting to see who takes the victory this year.