In the first game of the season, the Falcons edged the Saints 37-34 in overtime at the Georgia Dome to claim first place in the NFC South. The victory marked just the fourth time the Falcons have beaten the Saints in the past 17 meetings.
The Falcons hope to forget a dismal 4-12 record in which Atlanta finished last in the division. For the Falcons to compete this season, star receiver Julio Jones will need to remain healthy after he missed the final 11 games of 2013. The 25-year-old put together a superstar performance on Sunday afternoon, hauling in 7 receptions for an astounding 116 yards. Quarterback Matt Ryan was dominant, completing 31 passes for a franchise-record 448 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The Saints seek to improve upon an 11-5 record that saw New Orleans fall to the Seahawks in the first round of the playoffs last season. The Seahawks, of course, went on to win the Super Bowl. The success of the Saints this season will hinge upon the ability of Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense to put up points. In the 2009 season in which the Saints won the Super Bowl, Brees led an offense that put up a league-best 32 points per game. On Sunday afternoon, New Orleans lost despite scoring 34 points, which indicates that the Saints defense must improve if the team has any chance of returning to Super Bowl contention.
As the high-powered offenses of the Falcons and the Saints look to take off this season, the NFC South appears to be a force to be reckoned with. Atlanta travels to Cincinnati to face Andy Dalton and the Bengals, who beat the Ravens in a Week 1 thriller as Falcons tickets start from just $30 for this game. On the other hand the Saints fly to Cleveland to battle Brian Hoyer and the Browns, who fell to the Steelers in the first game with Saint tickets averaging less than $135 according to RazorGator.