In the last installment of the rivalry, the Saints had a very bad trip to Atlanta.
First, a disgruntled airport worker threw eggs at their team bus at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and then the Falcons made quarterback Drew Brees look rather pedestrian in a 23-13 victory on Nov. 29.
Brees was intercepted five times and his 54-game streak of throwing at least one touchdown ended.
Overall last season, without coach Sean Payton calling the plays, the Saints sputtered at times. With the reunion of Payton and Brees, the Saints hope to re-ignite their prolific passing attack.
Since 2006, when Payton arrived, the Saints have been the NFL’s top-ranked offense, averaging 402.5 yards per game.
In Payton’s last season at the controls before serving his suspension related to the notorious Bounty Gate scandal, the Saints shattered the NFL’s single-season net yardage total with 7,474 yards in 2011. The Rams held the previous mark of 7,075 in 2000.
In each season since 2006, the Saints have ranked in the NFL’s top five in passing, averaging 294.1 yards per game, which leads the league over that period.
The diversity of threats has been the theme of their attack.
Last season, the Saints were the second NFL team to have four players with 65 or more catches — tight end Jimmy Graham (85), wide receiver Marques Colston (83), running back Darren Sproles (75) and wide receiver Lance Moore (65). They joined the 1990 Houston Oilers, who had wide receivers Haywood Jeffries (74), Drew Hill (74), Ernest Givens (72) and Curtis Duncan (66).