Metairie, La. -- It's only week 3 and the Saints already have their second divisional match-up of the season on Sunday. Round one with the Falcons is ahead, and they are all aware of what that means.
"It's a divisional opponent and it's a very, very good divisional opponent," said Saints Quarterback Drew Brees. "It's a playoff team-- a team that was in the Super Bowl two years ago, a team that is extremely talented. I think we just know what type of game it is. They're usually a one possession game. They're usually extremely hard fought. You've got to be as good as you can possibly be against these guys."
"It's definitely pretty intense," said Saints Defensive Tackle Sheldon Rankins. "Every game we've played against them has been a hard-fought game. It usually comes-down to the wire. Great players battling. You think of Matt Ryan and Drew Brees. We're definitely aware of it but at the end of the day it's game three, our first road game and we're just trying to get a win."
"I'm not going to over-think this rivalry," said Saints Safety Kurt Coleman. "I know what's at stake. I know what we have to do in order to get this win. I'm going to rely on my teammates to do their job. I'm going to do my job and it's going to be a fight. We've got to understand the sense of urgency that everything matters. Every single play matters. So when we go out there, we're going to play for one another."
The NFC South is one of the toughest divisions in the league. With Tampa Bay surprising everyone in the first two weeks and sitting atop the division, it looks like this year the race for the division crown will be as tight as ever.
"So far this year, the division has been all over the place," said Saints Defensive End Alex Okafor. "It's easily one of the most competitive divisions in this league. We know how precious these games are. We know what weight they hold and we'll be coming out as such on Sunday."
"This NFC South race is hot," Rankins said. "It's going to be hot all year. We're definitely looking forward to going on the road and getting this big win and continuing our success in this division."
"We all have to face each other at some point, right? All the teams you mentioned, we're going to be facing," Brees said. "If we play our best football, I think we're going to be hard to beat. I don't think we've played near our best football yet."