The top 10 photos of the New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, December 21, 2014. Photos by Michael C. Hebert. (New Orleans Saints photos)
at Arizona Cardinals, Sept. 13
2014 record: 11-5, second in NFC West
Coach: Bruce Arians (42-51 career record)
Quarterback: Carson Palmer, 2014 regular season: 1,626 passing yards, 11 TDs
The skinny: While the Cardinals hold a 14-13 edge in the all-time regular season series, the Saints were on the winning end of the last meeting, a 31-7 win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sept. 22, 2013…With a win, the Cardinals would become the 12th team that New Orleans has at least a .500 all-time record against…New Orleans will open up the season against the Cardinals for the first time and it will also mark the second consecutive season the Black and Gold start on the road.
vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sept. 20, at Dec. 13
2014 record: 2-14, fourth in NFC South
Coach:Lovie Smith (86-80 career record)
Quarterback: Mike Glennon, 2014 regular season: 1,417 passing yards, 10 TDs
The skinny:New Orleans holds a 29-17 edge in the all-time series against the Buccaneers, the club's best winning percentage (.630) versus an NFL opponent that they have played more than five times…In 2014, New Orleans swept the season series for the third consecutive season, with the Oct. 5 37-31 overtime win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the 23-17 victory in the season finale on Dec. 28 at Raymond James Stadium, both which required fourth quarter comebacks…New Orleans' current seven-game winning streak against Tampa Bay is the franchise's second seven-game winning streak against an opponent (Los Angeles Rams, Dec. 9, 1990-Oct. 3, 1993).
Carolina Panthers, at Sept. 27, vs. Dec. 6
2014 record: 7-8-1, first in NFC South
Coach: Ron Rivera (33-33-1 career record)
Quarterback: Cam Newton, 2014 regular season: 3,127 passing yards, 18 TDs
The skinny:The Panthers lead the series 21-19 with the two clubs splitting the season series for the second consecutive season in 2014…This will be the first time since 2012 that at least one of the games is not currently scheduled to be played on prime time.
vs. Dallas Cowboys, Oct. 4
2014 record: 12-4, first in NFC East
Coach: Jason Garrett (42-32 career record)
Quarterback: Tony Romo, 2014 regular season: 3,705 passing yards, 34 TDs
The skinny:Although the Cowboys lead the all-time series 16-11, the Saints have won four of the last five meetings at home…The Saints and Cowboys will play each other for the fourth consecutive season, with this "Sunday Night Football" tilt the third consecutive time that the game is on prime time…While New Orleans dropped a 38-17 contest at Dallas in 2014, the Saints defeated the Cowboys 49-17 in 2013 when they set an NFL single-game record with 40 first downs and set the single-game franchise record on offense with 625 total net yards.
at Philadelphia Eagles, Oct. 11
2014 record: 10-6, second in NFC East
Coach: Chip Kelly (20-12 career record)
Quarterback: Sam Bradford
The skinny:The Eagles lead the all-time regular season series, 15-11, but New Orleans has won the last two regular season meetings and also captured their first road playoff victory in a 26-24 win in the NFC Wild Card Playoff at Lincoln Financial Field on Jan. 4, 2014.
Atlanta Falcons, vs. Oct. 15, at Jan. 3
2014 record: 6-10, third in NFC South
Coach: Dan Quinn
Quarterback: Matt Ryan, 2014 regular season: 4,694 passing yards, 28 TDs
*The skinny: *This will mark the first time that the Saints have hosted a Thursday night contest since the 2010 NFL season opener vs. Minnesota, a 14-9 win…The only other Thursday night game the Saints have hosted in franchise history was a 22-14 win over the Falcons on Dec. 3, 1992…It will be the ninth time in 11 years that the Saints and Falcons will play on prime time after the two clubs did so only three times between 1967-2004…Atlanta holds a 48-43 regular-season advantage in the all-time series against the Saints, although New Orleans has won 13 of 18 meetings since 2006…The Saints have played the Falcons 91 times, more than any other opponent…The Jan. 3 contest at the Georgia Dome will be the first time the two clubs have closed out the regular season against each other since a 10-9 Saints win on Dec. 18, 1988…The Saints have not closed out the regular season in Atlanta since 1977.
at Indianapolis Colts, Oct. 25
2014 record: 11-5, first in AFC South
Coach: Chuck Pagano (36-18 career record)
Quarterback: Andrew Luck, 2014 regular season: 4,761 passing yards, 40 TDs
The skinny:In a matchup featuring two of the NFL' top offenses and two of the most prolific quarterbacks in Drew Breesand Andrew Luck, the Saints and Colts ranked first and third in the NFL in net yards per game in 2014…The Saints lead the all-time series 6-5 and most recently got the best of the Colts in the first contest in a newly renamed Mercedes-Benz Superdome, when they defeated Indianapolis 62-7 on Oct. 23, 2011, setting a club record for scoring and tying for the highest single-game point total since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger…In that contest, Brees completed 31-of-35 passes for 325 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions.
vs. N.Y. Giants, Nov. 1
2014 record: 6-10, third in NFC East
Coach: Tom Coughlin (175-146 career record)
Quarterback: Eli Manning, 2014 regular season: 4,410 passing yards, 30 TDs
The skinny:The Saints will face the Giants for the 28th time, with New York leading the series 15-12…The Saints have won three of the last four meetings, as well as the last five contests played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome dating to 1987…The game will also mark a homecoming for Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr.and QB Eli Manning, both of whom played at Newman School.
vs. Tennessee Titans. Nov. 8
2014 record: 2-14, fourth in AFC South
Coach: Ken Whisenhunt (51-67 career record)
Quarterback: Zach Mettenberger, 2014 regular season: 1,412 yards, 8 TDs
The skinny:The Titans hold a 7-5-1 edge in the all-time series, but New Orleans captured the last meeting, a 22-17 come-from-behind win at Nashville's LP Field on Dec. 11, 2011 to clinch a playoff berth for New Orleans…In that contest, Brees*threw for 337 yards and two touchdowns to WRMarques Colston*, who had seven grabs for 105 yards…The Saints will be looking for their first win against the Titans franchise in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome since a 1993 win when the club was still the Houston Oilers.
at Washington Redskins, Nov. 15
2014 record: 4-12, fourth in NFC East
Coach: Jay Gruden (93-61 career record)
Quarterback: Robert Griffin III, 2014 regular season: 1,694 yards, 4 TDs
The skinny:Washington has a 16-8 edge in the all-time regular season series…In the 2012 season opener, the Redskins defeated the Saints 40-32 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
at Houston Texans, Nov. 29
2014 record: 9-7, second in AFC South
Coach: Bill O'Brien (9-7 career record)
The skinny: The Saints lead the series 2-1 after capturing the last two games, including a 40-33 win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sept. 25, 2011…In that contest, Brees*tossed for 370 yards and RBMark Ingram *scored his first career NFL touchdown…This will be the second time the Saints and Texans will have faced off in 2015, as New Orleans will host Houston in the preseason at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Aug. 30.
vs. Detroit Lions, Dec. 21
2014 record: 11-5, second in NFC North
Coach: Jim Caldwell (37-27 career record)
Quarterback: Matthew Stafford, 2014 regular season: 4,257 passing yards, 22 TDs
The skinny:The Saints will be seeking their fourth consecutive win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome over the Lions, including an NFC Wild Card Playoff victory in 2011...This will be the first time that the Saints and Lions face off on "Monday Night Football"…New Orleans owns an 11-9-1 advantage in the series.
vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, Dec. 27
2014 record: 3-13, third in AFC South
Coach: Gus Bradley (7-25 career record)
Quarterback: Blake Bortles, 2014 regular season: 2,908 passing yards, 11 TDs
The skinny:Leading the series 3-2, the Saints have defeated the Jaguars in both regular season contests played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome…In the last meeting between the two clubs, New Orleans defeated Jacksonville at Everbank Field on Oct. 2, 2011 as Brees* *tossed for 351 yards.