The Falcons and Saints may have one of the most underrated rivalries in all of sports. The NFC South rivals, who are geographically close to each other, share some similarities in their NFL histories. For the teams, it’s about more than just football.
This rivalry is about the cities’ respective cultures and, more importantly, which can claim to be the capital of the South. The two squads will renew their rivalry in Week 10, so we figured it’s a good time to reflect on the Falcons-Saints rivalry.
The history of the Falcons-Saints rivalry
The teams entered the NFL one year apart, with the Falcons joining in 1966 and the Saints in 1967. Their first meeting occurred on Nov. 20, 1967, when the Saints beat the Falcons 27-24. The Falcons got revenge in their second matchup, however, winning 45-17.
The teams started playing each other twice a year in 1970 when they were both placed in the NFC West following the NFL-AFL merger. They’ve been division rivals playing twice a season ever since. The Falcons currently lead the head-to-head series with 52 wins, compared to the Saints’ 48.
Notable Falcons-Saints games
The teams have played 100 games against each other. Here are some of the most memorable contests between the Falcons and Saints:
Sept. 16, 1973: Falcons win
The teams’ first meeting of 1973 came in Week 1, when the Saints hosted the Falcons at Tulane Stadium. This is a game the Saints and their fans wish they could forget. Falcons QB Dick Shiner led his team to a blowout victory over Archie Manning’s Saints.
The Falcons scored seven total touchdowns in a 62-7 rout over the team. It remains the most lopsided loss in Saints’ history to this day. Former Falcons QB Ken Reaves recalls it being “a contentious matchup” with “a lot of player conflict.” He says it was a very physical and hard-played game, with “a lot of individual battles.”
Dec. 28, 1991: Falcons win
The Saints hosted the Falcons at the Superdome in the wild-card round for what is still the only playoff game contested between the teams. Falcons QB Chris Miller threw three touchdown passes to lead the Falcons to a 27-20 victory over the Saints.
Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert had one touchdown and two interceptions in the losing effort, though Saints running back Dalton Hilliard scored the game’s only rushing touchdown.
Oct. 16, 2005: Falcons win
Hurricane Katrina upended the Saints’ 2005 season, and they had to play their home games away from the Superdome. In Week 6, their “home” game with the Falcons took place at San Antonio’s Alamodome.
Falcons QB Michael Vick completed just 11 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown, with RB Warrick Dunn running for 100 yards and a score. This was enough for the Falcons to pick up a 34-31 win.
Sept. 25, 2006: Saints win
The next season, the Falcons were the Saints’ opponents for their first game back at the Superdome following the devastation caused by Katrina. It was an emotional Monday night affair, and the Saints came out victorious, 23-3. Saints RB Devery Henderson scored the game’s only touchdown, and both Vick and Drew Brees threw for fewer than 200 yards.
The Falcons-Saints’ Week 10 battle
That brings us to the present day, and the first Falcons-Saints game of 2019. New Orleans seemingly has the advantage due to the game taking place at the Superdome, but both teams will come off their bye so this is a wash. After missing some time with a hand injury, the Saints have Brees back. They also have the best offensive player aside from the quarterback position in wide receiver Michael Thomas.
For the Falcons, it is unclear if QB Matt Ryan will be recovered enough from his ankle injury to return to the field. If he doesn’t play, the Saints will have a huge advantage, with Brees doing battle with QB Matt Schaub. This game looks like it’ll be a Saints victory.