The New Orleans Saints will face the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1 without a notorious and beloved defender, but that doesn’t mean the Saints’ defense will be any less elite.
Losing C.J. Gardner-Johnson was a surprise punch to the gut this offseason, yet the Saints are still primed to maintain their high standard of defensive excellence in 2022, and they can get off to a dominant start in their season opener against the Falcons.
NOLA’s defense may not be under as much scrutiny as, say, Jameis Winston and the new-look passing attack, and watching the Saints defend is admittedly one of the less glamorous parts of the game.
The black and gold should nonetheless have no problem stopping a weak Falcons offense spearheaded by Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder, especially after Atlanta lost top wideout Russell Gage. Tight end Kyle Pitts admittedly poses as a potential threat, but a threat that can be easily contained.
Saints’ defense can come flying out of the gate in Week 1 against the Falcons
Cam Jordan is ready to start his new era of sacking Falcons quarterbacks (R.I.P. Matt Ryan) with a few takedowns this upcoming game. Payton Turner and Marcus Davenport can follow his lead in the pass-rush; Demario Davis and Pete Werner can clean up the middle of the field.
As for the secondary, safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye are set to make their triumphant Saints debuts, and given their combined talent and expertise, could cause serious problems for Atlanta’s passing attack.
All-Pro Marshon Lattimore will likely lead the cornerback unit in production with young talent Paulson Adebo and reliable vet Bradley Roby serving as impactful playmakers as well — Falcons rookie Drake London simply has no chance against these defense heavyweights.
All in all, the Saints should have nothing to worry about when it comes to the defensive side of the ball. Facing a more dangerous passing offense like that of the Chiefs or Bills is another story, but we’d expect the Saints to limit the Falcons to just one touchdown this game.
The Saints’ offense can take care of the rest.