This will be the seventh time that the Saints and Falcons will square off for the regular season opener.
Although Atlanta leads the series (46-41), the Saints have an 11-3 advantage over the Falcons since 2006 when Sean Payton was hired as coach in New Orleans.
“It’s important,” said Saints offensive lineman
During the 2012 contest in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, wide receiver
The last time the Saints met the Falcons was Nov. 29 in the Georgia Dome where the Falcons defeated the Saints 23-13 and ended
Despite the loss, New Orleans’ defense had one of its most impressive performances of the 2012 season, allowing Atlanta to covert just 1-of-11 third downs while forcing five consecutive three-and-outs at one point.
This offseason, Atlanta looked to improve its rushing attack and acquired running back Steven Jackson as an unrestricted free agent from the St. Louis Rams.
“I think he’s a great player and I think any time you add a great player to your team you get better,” Falcons Coach Mike Smith said.
Jackson posted more than 1,000 yards in 2012 for the eighth consecutive season and is eager to showcase his talents in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
“Progressively the fans will see more and more of the explosiveness and more of the things you guys have seen over the years from me,” Jackson said. “But come New Orleans, that’s when you’ll get the full package.”
While Jackson will play in his first NFC South division game, Saints quarterback
The Falcons come to the Crescent City in 2013 with hopes of defending their NFC South title, but no team has won the division in consecutive years.
However, under Payton’s leadership, New Orleans has won six of the last seven games against Atlanta in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, with the one loss coming in a 27-24 overtime game in 2010.
“I think starting off with Atlanta as the season opener is going to be a tough game because whoever wins this game goes up in the division,” Lofton said. “Also, it’s two great teams. Atlanta got far into the playoffs last year and we’re trying to come back and we’re looking forward to playing them.”
These two teams have played each other closely in recent memory. In the past 14 contests, eight have been decided by a touchdown or less with two being settled in overtime.
“It’s always extremely competitive and it always goes down to the wire,” Payton said. “I guess you couldn't ask for a more formidable opponent, especially opening week at our place.”