Monday September 1st, 2014

New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons

The Saints travel to Atlanta to kick off the NFL season in Week 1. New Orleans went 11-5 last season and made the playoffs as a wild card, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round before falling to the Seattle Seahawks. The Falcons had a down season, slipping to 4-12 and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

Details for Sunday's game are below:

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET

Live stream: The game can be live streamed through NFL Sunday Ticket.

TV coverage: FOX

RadioFor a list of Saints affiliates, click here. For a list of Falcons affiliates, click here

Game Facts

Saints facts

The Saints beat the Falcons in both of the teams' matchups last season, winning 23-17 in Week 1 and 17-13 in Week 12.

New Orleans finished fourth in the NFL in total offense last season with 399.4 yards per game.

The Saints were also fourth in the league in total defense, allowing 305.7 yards per game under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. New Orleans was last in the NFL in that category in 2012.

Quarterback Drew Brees was second in the league in both passing yards (5,162) and touchdowns (39). The Broncos' Peyton Manning was first in both categories.

The team signed 12-time Pro Bowler Champ Bailey in the offseason but cut him before the season started.

After an arbitrator ruled that Jimmy Graham should be considered a tight end in salary negotiations, he and the Saints agreed to a new four-year contract extension in July.

Graham led all tight ends with 1,215 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns last season.

The Saints signed free agent safety Jairus Byrd to a six-year, $54 million contract in the offseason.

New Orleans has made the playoffs in four of the last five seasons.

New NFL rules will prohibit Graham from doing his customary dunking touchdown celebration. He was fined $30,000 for dunking the ball twice in a preseason game.

Falcons facts

Atlanta fell from eighth in the league in total offense in 2012 to 14th last season and slipped in total defense from 24th to tied for 27th.

The Falcons gave up 44 sacks last season, 10th-worst in the NFL. Atlanta selected Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews with the No. 6 pick in the NFL draft.

Starting left tackle Sam Baker is out for the season after tearing his patella tendon. Matthews is moving to the left side to replace Baker, and it's unclear who will replace Matthews at right tackle.

Atlanta has already cut one of its 2014 draft picks, letting go seventh-round pick Yawin Smallwood.

Wide receiver Julio Jones is back after missing 11 games last season with a broken foot. Jones has 1,198 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in 2012.

The Falcons' fifth-round pick in this year's draft, linebacker Marquis Sprill, is out for the season after tearing his ACL.

Quarterback Matt Ryan was fourth in the NFL in passing yards last season with 4,515. He added 26 touchdowns.

Head coach Mike Smith has gone 60-36 since taking over the team in 2008.

Veteran running back Stephen Jackson had 543 rushing yards, the lowest total of his career, in his first season with Atlanta last year.

Wide receiver Roddy White signed a four-year contract extension with the Falcons in the offseason.

Ben Estes

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