The Saints and Falcons are a rivalry that started back in 1967, and Sunday marks the 103rd time these two franchises will meet. Overall, Atlanta holds a 53-49 all-time series lead over New Orleans, which includes a lone playoff meeting in 1991. Aside 1987, formerly known as the strike year in the NFL, these two have played each twice each year since 1970. For the longest time, they were in the NFC West, but that all changed when the league established the NFC South in 2002.
Falcons-Saints Head-to-Head by Decade
- 1960s: Tied 1-1
- 1970s: Falcons 14-6
- 1980s: Saints 10-9
- 1990s: Falcons 14-7
- 2000s: Saints 13-7
- 2010s: Saints 12-8
In no particular order, we pay a small homage to some of the best Saints moments from their battles with the Falcons. There's undoubtedly an endless list, so be sure to let us know what your favorite moment is in the comments.
Sep. 8, 2013 - Sean Payton's return ends in glory. Fresh off the Bounty Gate suspension, Payton and the Saints drew the Falcons in Week 1 at the Superdome. Atlanta got up on New Orleans to start the game, but it was the Saints who had the last laugh. Matt Ryan tried for Tony Gonzalez in the end zone, but the pass was batted by a then rookie Kenny Vaccaro and would be picked off by Roman Harper to seal a 23-17 Saints win.
Dec. 24, 2017 - Buttception. The original butt interception came from Marshon Lattimore, as New Orleans made up for an earlier disappointing loss just 17 days earlier. The Saints won 23-13, essentially dominating the whole game en route to 11-4 and giving fans an early Christmas present.
Nov. 22, 2018 - Juliocopter. Alex Anzalone forces a fumble on Julio Jones, which is forever known as 'Juliocopter'. New Orleans was on a major hot streak, and got a great Thanksgiving present. The Saints rolled 31-17, winning their 10th straight game and eliminating Atlanta from the playoffs.
Nov. 26, 2006 - Michael Vick shoots the bird. The first game against the Falcons in the Sean Payton-Drew Brees era (more on that later) went as well as anyone could have expected. The rematch saw New Orleans dominate Atlanta on the road, holding Vick to just 84 passing yards en route to a 31-13 win. Vick had a choice gesture exiting the field for Falcons fans, that won't ever be forgotten.
Sep. 23, 2018 - Spin Drew. Drew Brees wasn't supposed to tie the football game running the football, but he did. New Orleans won in overtime 43-37. It'll be one of those plays that should go along with his Hall of Fame highlight package.
Dec. 26, 2011 - Brees passes Marino. The game was dominated by the Saints, but a record was on the horizon for Brees. He needed just over 300 yards passing to break a single-season record previous held by Dan Marino (5,084 yards) from 1984. By halftime, Brees had amassed 230 passing yards. With the game well in hand, Brees found Darren Sproles with under three minutes to go to get the record, clinch the NFC South, and embarrass the Falcons 45-16.
Nov. 28, 2019 - Flat Ryan. Shy Tuttle made a name for himself on Thanksgiving by intercepting a Matt Ryan pass. What happened afterwards forever sent him into the highlight reel for the rivalry after he put a stiff arm on Ryan that sent him tumbling to the turf in Atlanta. The best reaction came from the German broadcast, and is always there for you when you need a good laugh.
Sep. 25, 2006 - Rebirth. Nothing else really needs to be said that hasn't been already. Steve Gleason and the blocked punt will live forever for the Saints and the city of New Orleans.