Fan Photos from the New Orleans Saints preseason home opener against the Tennessee Titans on Friday, August 15, 2014. Photos by Michael C. Hebert and Matthew Sharpe (New Orleans Saints photos)
Following a historic 52-49 win against the New York Giants at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the New Orleans Saints look to move above .500 for the first time on the season, as they play host to the visiting Tennessee Titans (1-6) of the AFC South.
New Orleans will be looking to stretch their win streak to four games and move above the .500 mark for the first time since the conclusion of the 2013 campaign. The Saints are looking to be winners of four-straight for the first time since they won five-consecutive contests to start the 2013 season. With their win against New York on Nov. 1, New Orleans improved its record in the month of November to 25-12 since Sean Payton became head coach in 2006.
Sunday's contest against the Titans will be the second of their four contests played against AFC South opponents, having defeated the division-leading Indianapolis Colts 2721 in Week Seven. Under Payton, New Orleans boasts a 6 -3 record against AFC South teams, including winning their last five.
The Saints defeated the Giants 52-49 after a historic back-and-forth quarterback duel that saw quarterback Drew Brees throw an NFL-record-tying seven touchdowns, as well as throw for over 500 yards (505) for the second time and tie a career-high for completions (39). New Orleans' 52 points was the second-most in franchise history, topped only by the 62 they scored on Oct. 23, 2011 against Indianapolis. The Saints' 608 yards of total offense were the third-most in team history. Brees and Giants signal-caller Eli Manning combined for 13 touchdown passes, the most in NFL history for a single game. Finally, the 101 points scored between the two clubs was tied for the third-most in NFL history. Tight end Benjamin Watson had a huge game, setting career highs for receiving yards (147) on nine catches, including a career-long 46-yard grab in the first quarter. Wide receiver Marques Colston had a big game of his own, recording a season-high eight receptions for 114 yards, his 28th-career 100-yard receiving game.
The New Orleans defense allowed the Giants to successfully convert only one-of-eight third down attempts (13%). Linebacker Stephone Anthony continued to build on his strong rookie campaign, leading the team in tackles and finishing with a career-high stops. Safety Jairus Byrd had three tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
For the third consecutive week, special teams also played an important role in the Saints victory. First-year wideout Willie Snead, who also added a career-high two touchdown receptions, picked up a fumbled punt return by rookie running back/return specialist Marcus Murphy, which set the Saints up at the Giants 32-yard line for the game-winning kick after a facemask penalty. Newly-signed kicker Kai Forbath, in his first field goal attempt as a Saint, drilled a game-winning career-long-tying 50-yard field goal as time expired.
The Saints and Titans have met 13 times with New Orleans going 5-7-1 over those matchups. In the Superdome, the Titans are winners of three straight and have won five of the seven games played here between the two clubs. The Saints will be looking for their first home win in the series since 1993.