TV Schedule: Sunday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m. ET, FOX
Stadium: Mercedes-Benz SuperDome
Line: New Orleans (-3)
The Atlanta Falcons have been one of the best regular season teams in the NFL for the past couple of seasons and with an electric offense like theirs, it would be disappointing if they didn’t contend for a league title every season. The 2013 campaign will look even better for the Falcon offense as they have added veteran running back Steven Jackson and returning ageless wonder and tight end, Tony Gonzalez. Matt Ryan has proven himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the league along with Julio Jones and Roddy White as one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL. White and Jones are both 1,000-yard a year candidates while Ryan could easily throw for 4,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns every year with his arm.
On the other side of the field, the New Orleans Saints are led by one of the top quarterbacks in the world. Drew Brees has become a fixture of passing supremacy for the better part of a decade now. With three 5,000-yard passing seasons in the past five seasons and has thrown 33 or more touchdowns in all five of those seasons.Wide receiver and one of Brees’ favorite targets, has finished 2012 with his fourth-straight 1,000-yard season and has become on of the most electric wide outs in the second-best offense in football. Tight end Jimmy Graham will also get a ton of targets this year and could emerge as the top weapon in the offense. The run game will be slightly hidden due to the lack of proven rushers, led by Pierre Thomas.
Defensively, the Saints have had the worst defense in the NFL — yardage-wise — in the past couple seasons. New Orleans allowed nearly 450 yards of total offense per game in 2012 — just awful. Atlanta has some Pro Bowl-type guys on the defensive side of the ball, and finishing in the top-five in the NFL in many defensive categories, there’s no question as to why. This game will pin a great offense against a great defense.
PREDICTION: Falcons 35, Saints 42
Related: Atlanta Preview