Saints gearing up for season opener vs. Atlanta - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Saints gearing up for season opener vs. Atlanta

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New Orleans, La. - At long last, it's here. Game week.

"Oh yeah I'm definitely geeked up," said outside linebacker Junior Galette.

The Saints 2013 season opener is full of storylines, like Coach Sean Payton's return to the sideline. It's old news here locally but will garner a lot of attention nationally. Payton understands this and will be ready.

"We've played in a lot of games with a lot of hoopla, whether it's Sunday nights or Monday nights, postseason games," Payton said. "It's still about protecting the football. It's about blocking and tackling, all things we have control over. Those other things we'll try to eliminate as best we can."

The truth of the matter is the Saints don't want, and really can't afford, to focus on outside storylines. They have a Super Bowl contender waiting for them Sunday, who just so happens to be their biggest rival, the Atlanta Falcons.

"We know they don't have that much respect for us," said Galette. "Guys always go back and forth talking. But we don't pay attention to all that. We just buckle up on Sunday and see what goes on between the hashes."

"I mean you've seen the stuff they've posted online," Galette continued. "They had a rap song last year. They came here when we had a sub par team and we still beat them. We gave them their first loss of the season."

"What makes this rivalry even better is both teams are successful right now," said safety Roman Harper. "Both teams have great quarterbacks and it's going to be a great match up. The majority of them are one-possession games, so it's always been back and forth. And the fans don't like each other, not so much players, because the fans are what makes a rivalry go."

The Falcons came within a few points of advancing to the Super Bowl last year in New Orleans. However, in this rivalry, one side has dominated over the years. And that side is the Saints. Since Payton took over in 2006, the Saints are 11-3 against Atlanta.

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