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Reigning NFC South Champion Falcons Present Biggest Obstacle for Saints in 2017 Season

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What did the Saints NFC South opponent, the Atlanta Falcons, do to improve this offseason?

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

We begin a series of articles previewing the Saints regular season opponents, now with the Atlanta Falcons.

Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Week 14: at the Atlanta Falcons

Week 16: vs the Atlanta Falcons

Our friends over at The Falcoholic contributed this piece, listing all of the biggest additions/subtractions from the Falcons this offseason:

Notable free agent additions:

DT Dontari Poe, WR Andre Roberts, FB Derrick Coleman, DE Jack Crawford

Notable free agent departures:

FB Patrick DiMarco, DT Tyson Jackson

Trades:

None

Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies:

DE Takkarist McKinley, LB Duke Riley, FS/CB Damontae Kazee

Biggest offseason addition:

Poe. He’s signed for just one year, but he’s slimming down and has the talent to be the missing piece for the Falcons’ so-so run defense, plus a situationally useful pass rusher. For a team with very few glaring holes on defense, Poe is a huge addition, especially given the team’s real questions at defensive tackle aside from Grady Jarrett.

Biggest storyline heading into training camp:

Can the Falcons rebound from the most crushing Super Bowl loss of all-time? Everyone wants to know if the team has the mental toughness or can-do attitude or whatever you call it to return to relevance and contention in 2017. There’s a rich history of teams falling short the year after a Super Bowl berth, especially when they lose, so Atlanta will have to do more than talk about staying focused (which they’ve done) and show they’re as good or better than they were a year ago.

Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp:

Is the defense ready to break out? The Falcons battered Tom Brady for almost three full quarters in the Super Bowl and quietly played very well down the stretch last year. We know the offense will be good, but can the defense take a step forward on the strength of additions like Poe and their current young core? We’ll see some very early glimpses in training camp.

Notable injuries heading into training camp:

Everyone should be healthy, but Desmond Trufant, Adrian Clayborn, Derrick Shelby, Alex Mack, Julio Jones, and Taylor Gabriel are all coming off injuries and will need to prove their health.

***

The Atlanta Falcons are the defending NFC South champions, Matt Ryan is the defending MVP, and the Atlanta Falcons swept the season series last year. It doesn’t look to be any easier for the Saints this year, with almost all of the entire Falcons’ young core coming back in 2017.

So what says you, you unbiased Saints fans? Can the Saints turn the tables against the Falcons? Or will the Falcons repeat their success from the year before? Or is a split the most likely scenario?

Poll

How will the Saints fare against the Falcons?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    Sweep the series
    (44 votes)
  • 31%
    Get swept
    (61 votes)
  • 5%
    Win on the road in Week 14, but lose at home in Week 16
    (11 votes)
  • 39%
    Lose on the road in Week 14, but win at home in Week 16
    (77 votes)
193 votes total Vote Now