NEW ORLEANS — It appears that the Saints will take on an NFC South rival to kick off the 2022 campaign.
Both NOLA.com and WWL-TV Saints Analyst Nick Underhill are reporting that the Saints will open the 2022 season visiting the Atlanta Falcons. No kickoff time has been announced.
The game will officially be the team's first regular season game under new head coach Dennis Allen. Allen started his NFL coaching career in Atlanta as a defensive quality control coordinator in 2002 before joining the Saints as a defensive line assistant in 2006.
The contest will likely also feature a matchup of the quarterbacks that were the first and second overall picks in the 2015 NFL Draft. Saints quarterback Jameis Winston was the No. 1 pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that year before eventually moving to the Saints in 2020, while the Falcons prohibitive starting quarterback Marcus Mariota was the No. 2 overall selection by the Tennessee Titans.
This will be the 10th time the Saints and Falcons have opened the season against each other. The most recent time was in 2015, when the Falcons defeated the Saints 31-19 in Atlanta.
Quite fittingly, former head coach Sean Payton's final game with the Saints was in Atlanta, just as Allen's first will be in the same venue.
The full schedule will be released tonight at 7 p.m. Central Time.