Is it really that important? The Falcons will go head to head with their hated rival New Orleans Saints in Week 1, and it may actually be the most important game of the entire season.
Last year, the Falcons opened the season in New Orleans, and lost a game that came down to the very last play. Steven Jackson and Tony Gonzalez dropped game winning passes on 3rd and 4th downs, and the 2013 Falcons started their downward spiral to the conclusion of 4-12.
We all know the Falcons-Saints rivalry is one of the best in the league, and the players feel it just as much as we do, if not more. It’s not too ridiculous to think that the outcome of 2013’s Week 1 could have affected the entire season. The same concept applies to 2014, except this time Atlanta isn’t coming off of a conference game appearance. If the Falcons were to lose to the Saints again on opening day, this time being at home, could it kill the Falcons’ entire season? Months after coming off “The Lost Year”, a loss could be disastrous for Atlanta’s morale.
However, think of the boost to their confidence if they were to beat the Saints. A win against a division rival might be what Atlanta needs to believe in themselves again, and finally return back to 2012 form. An early season victory against New Orleans sure seemed to help propel the Falcons to a 13-3 record in 2010.
Many fans are very pleased with the schedule, but I personally would have rather faced them after we got a few games under our belt. Nonetheless, I’m extremely excited for 2014, and hope to see the Falcons begin their season of redemption by putting Sean Payton and Drew Brees one game back in the highly talented NFC South.