The Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints have built a healthy rivalry over recent years. As both teams continue to rise in talent, their matchups became more and more exciting to watch. Last season, the Falcons, along with other teams, appeared to finally figure out how to beat the Saints. Their most recent matchup came in Week 13 last season when the Falcons won 23-13. They intercepted quarterback Drew Brees five times and hope to repeat those stats in the team's season opener.
The Falcons will travel down to New Orleans to open up the 2013 season against the Saints. The team has back head coach Sean Payton from his year-long suspension and is bringing a new attitude to the year. The Falcons are starting their campaign for a Super Bowl and the defense is making Brees their top target at the start.
"It was one of those things where we got Drew out of the pocket," safety William Moore said, via the team website. "He's a great mobile QB and you can't take that from him, but that also limited his time to sit back in the pocket. He'll pick you apart if you let him sit back there. If he's on the move, you can jump some routes coming from the backside where he can't see you."
The Falcons defense did not record a ton of sacks against Brees, instead picking apart the way their offense operates. In the team's second matchup with the Saints last season, the defense recorded one sack on the quarterback. They placed six hits on Brees, but never brought him to the ground. Safety Thomas DeCoud believes the unit has finally figured out the inner workings of the Saints and plans on using that knowledge once again on Sunday.
"I think last year, that second game, we really figured out their philosophy as an offense and what they like to do, how they like to do it and out of what sets," DeCoud said. "I think we really picked up and took that knowledge to another level in that second game. If we can build on that, I think we'll have an even better performance."
If the Falcons plan on starting their season off with a win, the secondary is going to have to play their absolute best. DeCoud and Moore will anchor the unit as players like Asante Samuel and rookies Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant cannot afford a single mistake. The defense spent much of training camp studying game tape on Brees and the entire Saints offense, something that helped them last year.
"Most of the things that worked last year came from film study as far as things that Drew does that we picked up," the safety said. "It's things we picked up from Drew and the receivers and things they did," Moore said.
The Falcons are aware that with Payton back, the Saints will try plenty of new things in the first game of the year. The team is confident that they can build off of last year's success and pick the team apart once again.