For the second season in a row, the Saints have gotten to 2-0. And yeah, that’s a franchise first. Never before has New Orleans reached 2-0 in back-to-back seasons.
Now the Saints must get back up on a short week for NFC South rival Atlanta, a team a lot of pundits picked to usurp New Orleans for tops in the division. In New Orleans’ Super Bowl-winning season, the Saints won by eight in the Superdome and three in Atlanta.
Don’t be surprised if folks pick the Falcons to win this one. Falcons were impressive in a 41-7 win over Arizona this past week while the Saints had a close 25-22 win at San Francisco.
The Saints wins this season have come by 5 and 3 points.
It’s All History
Tons and tons of history in this one.
This is the most-played team for the Saints and recent history favors New Orleans. The Saints are down 37-44 in the series, but New Orleans has won seven of the last eight and is 13-7 since the calendar turned to 2000.
Sean Payton is 7-1 against the Falcons while Atlanta Head Coach Mike Smith, who is 21-13 overall, is 1-3 against New Orleans.
The Saints won the most recent meeting between the two teams 26-23 in the Georgia Dome. It was New Orleans’ 13th-consecutive win in 2009 and the final win of the regular season for the Saints.
New Orleans’ largest margin of victory is 38 points, coming in a 38-0 shutout in Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium on Nov. 1, 1987. The Saints biggest loss came 36 years ago when the Falcons won by 55 (62-7 in 1973 at Tulane Stadium).
The longest win streak in the series is 10 for Atlanta while New Orleans’ longest streak is six.
The most points scored by New Orleans is 45 (2003) while the fewest is 0 (twice, 1982 being the last time).
The most points by the Falcons is 62 (1973) while Atlanta has been shut out two times (1987 being the last time).
It has been well-chronicled in these parts about just how good Drew Brees is. But it never ceases to amaze about his grasp of the game.
He is No. 8 on the top 10 passer ratings in NFL history list, topped only by names like Steve Young, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Joe Montana. His 92.1 career rating is only .1 point behind Montana, in fact. 158.3 is perfect.
Since 2006, Brees has 31 games with a 100 or better QB rating and that includes the first two games this season (101.3 vs. Minnesota; 108.9 vs. San Francisco).
When Brees tops the century mark, the Saints are 25-6, including 4-0 against the Falcons. Against Atlanta in 2009, Brees had a 111.7 rating in a 35-27 win on Nov. 2 and followed that with a 122.5 rating in a 26-23 win on Dec. 13.
Honing in on Harper
Saints strong safety Roman Harper intercepted his first pass since 2007 when he picked off the 49ers’ Alex Smith on Monday night.
While that was a noticeable contribution, sometimes it’s the less-noticeable ones that make a difference.
Harper is a stud in the run game and has gotten better at pass coverage. He’s third on the team with 12 tackles, leads the Saints in quarterback hits (2) and tied for the lead in passes defensed (2) and forced fumbles (1).
Since 2006, his rookie season, Harper is tied for fourth in the NFL in sacks by safeties with 6½ as well as tied for fourth in forced fumbles by safeties at seven.
2010 3's Company (third-down analysis)
25 plays overall of which 2 were runs and 23 were passes. They have averaged -.5 yards per run and 5.87 yards per pass play.
• Third-and-short (1-2 yards) - 1 runs, 0 first downs; 4 passes, 3 first downs
• Third-and-(3-5) - 0 run, 0 first down; 4 passes, 1 first downs
• Third-and-(6-10) - 0 runs, 0 first downs; 11 passes, 5 first downs
• Third-and-(11-15) - 1 run, 0 first down; 1 passes, 0 first downs
• Third-and-(16-plus) - 0 runs, 0 first downs; 3 passes, 0 first downs