November 11, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) calls signals from the line against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Falcons 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints Are Right With Atlanta Falcons for NFC South Supremacy

The New Orleans Saints are just as talented as the Atlanta Falcons as we look ahead to the 2013 NFL season and the battle for the NFC South crown.

Atlanta is one of the most talented teams in the NFL and only continues to improve. That said, the Saints can say the same thing with a revamped defense under Rob Ryan and with head coach Sean Payton back in the fold.

We bring this up because John Clayton of ESPN recently answered a question about the NFC South by saying the Falcons are still the team to beat:

“I’ve so far voted for the idea that the return of Payton and the presence of Drew Brees should put the Saints back into playoff contention. I don’t think they will be as dangerous as the 2009 team. I think the change in defense to the 3-4 will take some time but should work out. Nevertheless, I still believe the Atlanta Falcons have the best chance of winning the division. That puts the Saints in the top 12. The receiving corps isn’t as deep as it was on the 2009 team. The offensive line is very good but not to the level of the ’09 team. I respect the Saints in their attempt to come back after a tough season. Last year, I compared the Saints to Ohio State when it lost its head coach and went on probation. Those days are behind the Saints, and they can bounce back.”

We disagree.

Last season when the Saints had the worst statistical defense in NFL history and was without Payton, the team still managed to defeat the Falcons in Week 10 to the tune of 31-27.

In other words, each game between the two teams is once more going to come down to whether Matt Ryan or Drew Brees can score the most points.

While the Falcons have done a nice job of improving this offseason, the Saints get their head coach back and presumably improve on defense as Rob Ryan makes New Orleans switch to a 3-4. As Clayton points out, the offensive line is just fine because whoever takes over the left tackle spot will still be protected by Brees’ ultra-fast release. The receiving core is about the same as 2009 when you take into account the combo of Joe Morgan and the rookie Kenny Stills.

It’s unfair to say the Falcons are the best team in the NFC South. Right now it the Saints and Falcons are on the same level.


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  • lethaldose

    Here is what I don’t get about how they are evaluating the Saints for this year. Last year we were without Payton, and we suffered through games without Smith and Vilma on D. And Brees didn’t get his contract worked out until the last minute so we didn’t have him for OTA’s and training camp, plus everyone was jsut distracted by the entire Bountygate thing. We had all these things working against us last season and we still won 7 games. Now imagine a season were all those wrong things have now been fixed. If 7 was our base line during a worst case scenario which last season was, then what we will do win everything is working like it is suppose to. I remember what happened last time we had a season where everything with no lockout or bountygate, or missing head coach, the last time that happened we won the Super Bowl. Who Dat!

    • Christopher Aaron Blacklin

      Whatever!!!…don’t forget we had 1st year coordinators on D and O…now they have a year under their belts…and our D wasn’t all that either now it will be top notch under Nolan’s 2nd year there wont be come backs from other teams like last year…we r younger and faster…and our offence will be even better under Dirk’s 2nd year as Offense Coordinator and we have a new weapon for Ryan…please enter Steven Jackson he can catch and run far better than Turner

      • Rod

        whatever Chris…you know the difference between a dirty bathtub and a dirty bird? The tub has a ring! Ryan is going to eat yall for breakfast…teams are going to be better prepared for you…its always harder after having a good season like yall did (Kudos by the way, I was rooting for yall to beat 49ers so don’t ever say us saints fans can’t show yall some love)…teams are going to be dedicating free time to figuring yall out and making sure they get around to Matty Ice…your o-line does have some SERIOUS issues that can cause problems for him if not addressed…

    • Christopher Aaron Blacklin

      And I do remember our D did make Drew look like a subpar QB…it was the running game and TE that burned us…but we addressed that issue in releasing players and the draft and signing FA…Rise up!!!

  • ahrcshaw

    Its also kind of hard to put the Birds above the Panthers when the Panthers should have beaten them twice last year. As usual I85 will be busy and all three teams will win at home and loose on the road. One thing for sure none of them will be a cake walk for either team.