New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons Free NFL Picks & Week 1 Odds
by Josh Schonwald - 7/14/2014
Sunday, September 7, 2014, 1:00 pm, FOX
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
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In a game featuring two rivals from the NFC South, the Atlanta Falcons will host the New Orleans Saints in the two teams' opening game of the season. The Saints were able to beat the Falcons twice last season, with both games being decided by less than seven points.
The New Orleans Saints lost in the second round of the playoffs in 2013 after going 11-5 during the regular season. Quarterback Drew Brees helped the offense to have a top-two passing game, while the defense was one of the best in the league against the pass. Tight end Jimmy Graham finished the year with 86 receptions, 1215 yards and a career-high 16 touchdowns.
To shore up their defense, the Saints were able to make one of the best signings of the offseason by giving free agent safety Jairus Byrd a six-year contract. They were also able to sign ex-Giant Charles Brown to improve their offensive line.
The Atlanta Falcons had a very disappointing, injury-plagued 2013 season, going 4-12 and finishing at the bottom of the division. Their passing game was in the top 10 in the NFL, but they finished last in rushing and had one of the worst overall defenses in the league.
Tight end Tony Gonzalez retired this offseason, weakening the Falcons' offense, but they were able to sign safety Thomas DeCoud and corner Javier Arenas to improve their defense. They also drafted offensive tackle Jake Matthews with the sixth overall pick in the draft.
Tony's Pick: Take Saints
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