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Hartley suffered a hip flexor while converting an extra point in the Saints’ 40-20 victory over Oakland last Sunday. He did not return, although he indicated in the locker room after the game he hoped the injury would not prove serious.

The New Orleans Saints have decided to place veteran cornerback Fabian Washington on the injured reserve list because of nagging hamstring issues, effectively ending his 2011 season before it ever starts.

It was a close call over Atlanta, and I suspect the race will be close throughout the season. I think both teams are going to be very good. But there are two reasons I chose the Saints. One is Drew Brees. The other is that I think they have a more talented roster than in the 2009 season when they won the Super Bowl.

Two of the past 11 Heisman Trophy winners were running backs, and both have played for the New Orleans Saints — Reggie Bush and Mark Ingram. Bush doesn’t have that stiff-armed statuette anymore. Ingram acts as if he never had one in the first place.

NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora reported the new deal will keep Johnson under contract with the Titans through 2016. Johnson will take home $13 million in 2011, a massive bump from his $800,000 base salary — $1.065 million with previously earned incentives — that he was scheduled to earn this season.

The Saints and the Falcons will duke it out this season for the top spot in the NFC South. What will the upcoming season bring for the NFC South?

Tags: Carolina Panthers Chris Johnson Chris Johnson Contract Fabian Washington Garrett Hartley Garrett Hartley Injury John Kasey Mark Ingram New Orleans Saints NFC South NFL News Reggie Bush Tennessee Titans