There is no team Atlanta fans should hate more in any professional sport than the New Orleans Saints. The NFC South’s two biggest rivals have met a grand total of 92 times, and the Falcons lead the series 49-43. The two teams have each won the division 5 times and have both won the NFC once. The Saints own the only Super Bowl trophy from their magical 2009 season, in which they beat the Peyton Manning led Colts in the Super Bowl.
The Falcons and the Saints have always been fierce rivals, but the series did not receive much national media attention because the teams were rarely any good. In the mid 2000’s, the series picked up a lot of attention due to the improvements in both of the organizations. Perhaps the most famous game of the rivalry occurred in 2006, when the Saints reopened the Superdome after hurricane Katrina. The Saints mauled the Falcons from the opening kickoff and to this day have a statue recognizing that win outside of their stadium.
Since the Superdome reopened, the Saints own a 15-5 record over the Falcons. Drew Brees and Sean Peyton have had the Falcons numbers over the years, as the games always seem to come down to the final possession. In 2014 the Falcons won both match ups against the division foe. They first met up in Week 1, in which the Matt Bryant kicked the Falcons to overtime and then kicked them to a victory in overtime.
The second matchup brought out the best of the rivalry. The Falcons and Saints met up in a week 16 matchup in the Superdome. The Saints (6-8) had the chance to eliminate the Falcons (5-9), who had not won in the Superdome since 2010. Prior to the game, Saints CB Keenan Lewis stated, “We are definitely going to give them their funeral.” Falcons players brushed off the talk and demolished the Saints by a score of 30-14. It was only the second victory the Falcons recorded in the Superdome since its reopening.
The Falcons and Saints both head into the 2015 season as intriguing dark horse teams that could make a run at winning the NFC. Both teams feature elite QBs with question marks looming around them. However, if one of these teams could figure it out early, they could grab one of the top seeds in the NFC. The Saints are no longer in the spotlight as one of the most feared teams in the NFL, but Sean Peyton and Drew Brees have been a dynamic duo and will be tough to beat once again in 2015.