METAIRIE, La. — Let the games begin.
Well, at least the talking.
The Saints and Falcons might be one of the most-underrated rivalries in the NFL and New Orleans outside linebacker Junior Galette already has begun to feel it.
Less than 48 hours after rosters were finalized, Galette already has pulled the no respect card out of his back pocket.
“We know that they don’t have that much respect for us,” Galette said. “We know that guys always go back and forth and talk on the line. We don’t pay attention to that. We just want to buckle up on Sundays and see what goes on between the hashes.”
Come again? No respect? Really?
“You see the things they post online,” Galette said. “They had a rap song last year. They came here when we had a sub-par team. We gave them their first loss of the season.”
Regardless of what has been said online, or perceived to have been said, New Orleans and Atlanta has an intense rivalry.
Atlanta is New Orleans’ most-often played opponent, 87 games having been played prior to Sunday’s noon showdown. The Falcons own a five-game lead in the series, but New Orleans has won 11 of the past 14 games against the Falcons.
Galette’s has his own theory on New Orleans’ success against Atlanta under Payton.
“Maybe they’re scared to come in the Dome,” Galette said. “But we beat them in their house, too.”
The games, however, are close. Other than New Orleans’ 45-16 win in 2011, the series has been decided by 10 points or fewer in nine of those games.
Meanwhile, Atlanta and the Saints have swapped winning the NFC South every year since 2009.
Which brings us to this and what Galette says the Saints’ goal is this season.
“We want to dominate the division,” Galette said. “That’s our main focus. After we dominate the division, we want to do everything else. But our main focus is to dominate the division and Atlanta is one of the better teams in the division.”