TV Schedule: Sunday, Sept. 7, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX
Stadium: Georgia Dome
Weather: 89 high, 69 low
Line: New Orleans (-3)
The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints are coming off of exact opposite seasons, for the most part. In 2013, the Falcons finished 4-12 and the Saints finished 11-5. As I am sure you probably could have guessed, New Orleans made the playoffs and Atlanta did not.
As usual, the Saints should have no problem putting points on the board. 35-year-old Drew Brees is back and he looks as good as ever. He had yet another 5,000-yard passing season in 2013. He also had 39 TDs to go along with that. It will be interesting to see if RB Mark Ingram can finally meet expectations, but he will be given the opportunity to do so this year regardless — No. 1 on the depth chart.
The Falcons enter this contest with bounce-back season on their mind. After all, the team did finish 13-3 during the regular season just two seasons ago, and crumbled last year. It will help that players like WR Julio Jones will be healthy. He only played five games in 2013.
Now that Matt Ryan has his primary target back, he should be in for a great season. As a result, the Falcons, at the very least, should be in for a better season than a 4-12 finish. If not, then there are more than likely going to be some big chances in Atlanta during the offseason.
With an improved defense, the Saints could realistically win a Super Bowl this year. However, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. At least not until after the first game of 2014.
New Orleans will play on the road in its first game, and although it has been known to be much better at the Superdome (8-0 at home last year), it will come away with a victory in this one.
PREDICTION: Saints 35, Falcons 17