The Atlanta Falcons will look to put a forgettable 2013 season behind them as they open at home against the New Orleans Saints.
The Atlanta Falcons will open their season at home against their NFC South rival, the New Orleans Saints. They are determined to put last season behind them since they finished with a disappointing 4-12 record.
The Saints played the Falcons at home last season in their opener and won 23-17 after making a goal-line stand and coming away with the game-winning interception.
Quarterback Drew Brees will have plenty of weapons to throw to in wide receivers Marques Colston, Kenny Stills and rookie Brandin Cooks. His top weapon though is tight end Jimmy Graham, who the Saints were able to give a contract extension too.
The defense will also be dangerous with Keenan Lewis at cornerback and Kenny Vaccaro and Jairus Byrd at safety. Byrd was signed to a six-year contract in free agency, and the safety unit will now be even more threatening with Rafael Bush also returning.
The other starting cornerback job is up for grabs, especially in wake of the release of Champ Bailey. Patrick Robinson and rookie Stanley Jean-Baptiste are expected to battle for it.
The Falcons will have wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones returning healthy, so they will provide the key matchup of the game against the New Orleans secondary.
If the Falcons can generate a running game with Steven Jackson and Devonta Freeman, the offense will be even more dangerous. They may have to play catch up if the Saints take an early lead though.
Prediction: Saints 31, Falcons 21