What To Watch For When The Saints March On Atlanta Week One

September 10, 2022

The Saints will be kicking off the season with a trip into enemy territory as they face their division rival the Atlanta Falcons. Here are some things to watch for on Sunday.

Falcons Improved Secondary

AJ Terrell proved himself to be a top corner in the league last year allowing only 43 receptions on 86 targets and a 61.0 passer rating (all stats per ProFootballReference).

Casey Hayward signed with the team in free agency this year after spending a season in Vegas with the Raiders, allowing 32 receptions on 57 targets and a 91.9 passer rating.

Aside from the previously noted players, the Falcons don’t have as many established players anywhere else besides the corner position. They will be their best bet at keeping the Saints from putting points on the board.

A Battle In The Trenches

A spot that won’t be their best bet, though is the defensive line. The Falcons had the worst defensive line performance last year with a pitiful 18-sack season. They not only struggled to get pressure but also to slow down the run game as they ranked 27th in run defense. After arguably getting worse at the defensive tackle position losing Tyeler Davison. They did upgrade the outside linebacker spot with the addition of Lorenzo Carter and two of their draft picks addressing the position, Atlanta will be up for a test against the Saints’ offensive line.

The New Orleans offensive line was a solid unit last year when healthy but that is already a concern coming into the year. They lost their best lineman in Terron Armstead to Miami but still have two studs in Erik McCoy and Ryan Ramczyk. While they are diminished from last season, they should still have the upper hand against the Falcons.

New Toys For Jameis

After an abysmal performance on the offensive side of the ball where they were plagued with injuries, Jameis and co. look to inevitably improve on last year. Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, and Chris Olave will be new mouths to feed that weren’t there last year. Watch for them to have a big day as well as the rest of the offense.

A Defensive Juggernaut Vs A Questionable Offense

The Falcons lost their long-time starting quarterback in Matt Ryan and will be without their number one receiver (again) in Calvin Ridley. Marcus Mariota and Drake London will look to fill the void that has been left by those two absences. Kyle Pitts and Cordarelle Patterson hope to pick up where they left off from last season as well, being the offense’s only bright spots.

On the other side of the ball, we will have a defense that has likely gotten better from last year. The presence of Demario Davis, Marshon Lattimore, and Cameron Jordan is always something to look out for when playing the Saints. Now add one of the league’s best safeties, Tyrann Mathieu into the mix. We could see an elite defense making its debut this Sunday.

A Divisional Rivalry

This game is between two teams who make up one of the most prominent NFC South division rivalries. While on paper it looks like the Saints should be going home on a high note, you never know what to expect when these teams hit the field.

The Falcons currently lead the all-time record between the two 54-52. Will New Orleans be closer after this weekend? Or will the Atlanta increase their lead even more?

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