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New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons Prediction: NFC South Rivals Renew Acquaintances to Kick Season Off

Head coach Dennis Allen, quarterback Marcus Mariota set to make debuts for their new teams.

When the Saints and Falcons renew their rivalry on Sunday, they'll be doing so without many familiar faces.

Related: NFL Predictions for Every Game in Week 1

The Saints finished 9-8 last season, their first without Drew Brees, and narrowly missed the playoffs due to a tiebreaker. After losing their Hall-of-Fame quarterback, they enter their first season without Sean Payton as their head coach since 2005 (not counting the 2012 Bountygate season).

The Falcons were on the periphery of a playoff run last season before losing three of their four final games to finish 7-10. But now they are embarking on a rebuild after trading the face of the franchise, quarterback Matt Ryan, to Indianapolis.

The Falcons lead the all-time series, 54-52, including a narrow 27-26 edge in Atlanta. In this back-and-forth rivalry, the road team has won the last three matchups.   

New Orleans (0-0) at Atlanta (0-0) 

Kickoff: Sunday, Sept. 11 at 1 p.m. ET
TV: FOX
Spread: Saints -5.5
Tickets: As low as $153 on SITickets.com

Three Things to Watch

1. Have some notable Saints recovered from their injuries?
Jameis Winston will return as the starting quarterback after tearing his ACL in the seventh game of last season. This will be his third year in New Orleans after understudying in 2020, Brees' final season. He completed 95 of his 161 pass attempts for 1,170 yards, 14 touchdowns, and three interceptions before his injury.