Aug 29, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton looks on during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
It’s no secret that Sean Payton contributed a lot of good things since he took over the head coaching job in New Orleans. This includes the super bowl in 2009. Sean Payton and Drew Brees have done wonders for the saints.
As a Falcons fan, it is also no secret that since Sean Payton took over in 2006, the Falcons and Saints have played 14 times. The Falcons have only won three of them. There is definitely some hatred in this rivalry.
A lot of saints fans like to claim that Sean Payton has the upper hand when facing the Falcons. He has their “number.” That statement stems from the idea that Sean Payton has a superior game plan that the Falcons can’t beat. I don’t agree with that. I believe that the reason the saints so often has been able to defeat the Atlanta Falcons is because (wait for it) they were better.
Yes, there is no strange crystal ball of Payton’s, he’s not secretly hiding behind a tree in flowery branch watching practices. He’s not a Mike Smith Mind Reader, nor is he a football super genius! From 2006 to 2011, the New Orleans saints were a better football team. They had a better passer, a better runner, a better line, a better defense, a better special teams, they were better all around.
You can claim to throw out stats in rivalry games as much as you want, but the better team will always win. Sometimes the worse team will pull out a win or close to it as the saints of last year were barely able to pull out a win in the Superdome. Like how Atlanta came so close to winning a game in the 2009 super bowl run. But usually, the better team won. For the majority of the previous years, the saints were better.
That is no longer the case. Atlanta has a better passing attack. Atlanta has a better defense. Atlanta has a better running game. In most areas, Atlanta is the better team. That means that most of the time, Atlanta will win the ball game. I don’t know how long of a stretch the Falcons will be better (hopefully a long time) but from 2012 and until the team collapses (or the saints get really good again) the Falcons will win the majority of the games.
I don’t think Atlanta will win on Sunday because of some silly tradition or past performances, I think they will win because as of right now, they are better.