Atlanta Falcons (0-0) at New Orleans Saints (0-0)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, at Mercedes-Benz Superdome - TV: FOX
*TV announcers: Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa
*Keys to the game: Drew Brees will be trying to atone for one of the worst games of his 13-year career last November in the Georgia Dome. Brees was intercepted five times in a 23-13 loss in a Thursday night game. Coach Sean Payton said his team would run the ball far more often in 2013 than it did during his suspension last season. The Falcons have sharks at cornerback, but two of them are rookies. Brees will be glad to establish a running game to get new LT Charles Brown settled into the flow. Atlanta rolls out newcomer Steven Jackson to gauge whether the Saints' switch to a 3-4 defense under coordinator Rob Ryan will improve their performance; New Orleans was dead last with 147.6 rushing yards allowed per game last season. Ryan doesn't want Jackson to get going; it would limit his play-calling options to counter the Falcons Pro Bowl trio of pass catchers Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez.
*Matchup to watch - Saints RCB Keenan Lewis vs. Falcons WR Julio Jones. Lewis has the length and speed to match up with Jones, but the question is how will the Saints' big-ticket acquisition in free agency stands up to the test. Lewis led the NFL with 28 passes broken up in 2012 when he was with the Steelers, but Jones looked like a world-beater all summer and could get more work with Roddy White (ankle) ailing.
*Player spotlight - Falcons LB Joplo Bartu: The rookie is small but fast, and was the team's best coverage linebacker in preseason. He'll work regularly in coverage of bigger and stronger TE Jimmy Graham, who had seven catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns in the last meeting in New Orleans.
*Fast facts: The Saints are 0-6 against the Falcons in season openers. ... Payton is 10-2 as a head coach against the Falcons. ... Falcons QB Matt Ryan owns the NFL record with 56 wins through his first five seasons.
WHO WILL WIN AND WHY
In a tight game, Atlanta's experience and advantages in skill-position matchups is enough for them to take the division opener.
*Our pick: Falcons 30-28