Upon Further Review: Saints Week 1

A review of the hot issues from the New Orleans Saints' 23-17 victory against the Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Payton’s return: Coach Sean Payton was back after missing last season while serving a suspension for the bounty scandal. There’s no question Payton’s presence gave his team a boost. But it went deeper than that. The Superdome crowd is always loud, but it was even more of a factor as it welcomed Payton back.

Maybe the defense is better: It was only one game, but coordinator Rob Ryan seems to have the defense headed in the right direction. Holding Atlanta’s offense to 17 points is a pretty major accomplishment. And the defense came through with a huge interception at the end of the game to seal the victory. If the defense can play like this all season, the Saints could be very dangerous.

The offense was mediocre: Everything’s relative when you’re talking about the New Orleans offense. But it’s fair to say this unit didn’t have a great day Sunday. The good news is the defense stepped up, and you can’t count on the offense slumping for long.