Who Are The New Orleans Saints' Biggest Rivals?

Who Are The New Orleans Saints Biggest Rivals

The New Orleans Saints have been around since 1967 and currently play in the NFC South division. Over their many seasons in the NFL, the Saints have garnered quite a few rivals, especially within their own division. Read below to learn all about New Orleans’s biggest rivals.

Atlanta Falcons

The Saints and Falcons have been in the same division ever since 1970, which means they’ve had to play each other at least twice a year ever since that point. As a result, there’s no love lost between New Orleans and Atlanta, whether it was being bottom feeders together in the 1970s or being perennial powers in the early-to-mid 2010s.

The Falcons and Saints have met in the playoffs one time in their respective histories. This matchup came in 1991 at the NFC Wild Card game. New Orleans was the division winner and was at home, but it was Atlanta who squeaked out a 27-20 victory. With under three minutes left in the contest, wide receiver Michael Haynes caught a 61-yard touchdown pass and put the Falcons up for good.

However, arguably their most memorable game came in week three of 2006. It was the Saints’ first home game since Hurricane Katrina, and it was also the first home game of the Sean Payton-Drew Brees era. On fourth down on Atlanta’s opening drive, Steve Gleason blocked a punt for New Orleans, and it was recovered by Curtis DeLoatch in the end zone for a touchdown.

Carolina Panthers

Since Carolina came into the league in 1995, it doesn’t have quite the tension with New Orleans that Atlanta does, but the two squads are still intense rivals. The Saints and Panthers have been in the same division since 1995, and the rivalry started almost instantly.

In 1995, Hall of Fame linebacker Sam Mills left the Saints’ famed “Dome Patrol” in free agency to join the expansion Panthers. Immediately, Mills became a leader and helped lead his club all the way to the NFC Championship game in 1996. Mills eventually would become a ring-of-honor member for both New Orleans and Carolina.

Their only playoff matchup came in 2017, in which the division-winning Saints defeated the Panthers 31-26 in the NFC Wild Card round. Carolina was driving towards a game-winning touchdown, but quarterback Cam Newton was sacked on 4th & 23 at the New Orleans 34-yard line.

Minnesota Vikings

The Saints and Vikings aren’t divisional rivals, but they’ve met in the postseason five times. The first matchup came in 1987, and it was New Orleans’ first playoff game in franchise history. However, the Saints were routed 44-10 by the Vikings in the Wild Card round. Then 13 years later, Minnesota beat New Orleans 34-16 in the Divisional round.

The next three playoff games were thrillers. The first was the 2009 NFC Championship game, where the Saints beat the Vikings 31-28 in overtime. The most memorable play came late in the fourth quarter when the Saints picked off Brett Favre on the edge of field goal range.

In the 2017 Divisional round, the Saints held a 24-23 lead with 25 seconds left, but Case Keenum found wide receiver Stefon Diggs for a 61-yard touchdown as time expired to give the Vikings a 29-23 win. Finally, New Orleans hosted Minnesota in the 2019 Wild Card round, with Kirk Cousins tossing the game-winning touchdown to Kyle Rudolph in overtime to give the Vikings a 26-20 victory.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Saints and Buccaneers have been in the same division since 2002, but they really became rivals in 2017 when cornerback Marshon Lattimore was drafted in the first round of that year's draft by New Orleans. From then on, the rivalry was particularly fueled by the rivalry and antagonism between the Pro Bowl corner and his fellow Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Evans.

In 2020, MVP quarterback Tom Brady signed with Tampa Bay, and the two squads were among the best in the NFC that season. The Saints took both contests in the regular season, including a 38-3 drubbing in week nine, but it was the Bucs who ousted the Saints in the NFC Divisional Round.


Who is the biggest rival of the New Orleans Saints?

The Saints’ biggest rival is the Falcons, largely due to their long history against them. New Orleans and Atlanta have been in the same division ever since the NFL developed the AFC and NFC conferences in 1970. New Orleans and Atlanta have met only one time in the playoffs, though. This happened in 1991 when the Falcons defeated the Saints in the NFC Wild Card game 27-20.