Atlanta Falcons: Breaking down the 2015 division games

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Dec 21, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is sacked by Atlanta Falcons defensive tackles Corey Peters (91) and Tyson Jackson (99) during the third quarter at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints

This New Orleans team will look different this season. Drew Brees will still be firing the football out often, but we can expect more balance on offense with Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller. The receiving threats aren’t as strong as in year’s past, but Brandin Cooks and Marques Colston are still talented enough to cause defenses problems. Cooks in particular is a player the Saints are excited with.

From a defensive standpoint, the Falcons will need to get on top of the run game and make the Saints’ offense one dimensional. It might sound strange to put the game in Brees’ hands, because he’s played at such a high level for so long, but allowing them to dictate the tempo of the game on the ground can’t happen.

Offensively, the Falcons will need to put up points and often, putting all the pressure on the Saints’ offense to keep up. If Atlanta can get the ground game going, the offense could be too strong for New Orleans’ defense to slow down.

Even so, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is still one of the toughest venues to play at, and the Saints will expect to bounce back at home after losing five on their own turf last year.

Prediction: Split

Next: Carolina Panthers