Saddled with the 23rd toughest schedule in 2014, it’s easy to say that the Saints, who’ve won 10 or more games four of the last five seasons, is primed for another 10-win season in the Big Easy as well as another Lombardi Gras down Poydras Street.
That being said, of the 16 games this season, five are against 2013 playoff teams. Of those five games against playoff teams, four are at home.
Along with that, for a three-week period in November, the Saints don’t have to leave the city of New Orleans for tackle football purposes.
So with that being said, which games should be top priority for Saint fans?
1) Green Bay (October 26th)
For the record, I’m not putting this at the top of my list because the game is going to be the day after my birthday.
After a season in which the Packers got gift wrapped the NFC North division title because the Lions are the Lions, the Packers are odds on favorites to win another NFC North crown in 2014. With a healthy Aaron Rodgers and one of the best young running backs in Eddie Lacy, the Packers-Saints showdown should be fun to watch. It would not surprise me if this was a playoff preview.
2) San Francisco (November 9th)
Because we’re a family friendly blog I won’t repeat the words I said the moment Vernon (Fully Expletive) Davis scored that touchdown in the 2011 NFC Divisional Playoffs in this column.
If anything, I’ll just move forth with the reason why this game is on my list.
Since Jim Harbaugh arrived in San Francisco, the 49ers have played in three NFC championship games and a Super Bowl. And while the 49ers-Saints rivalry has died down due to the creation of the NFC South, old time Saint fans still have strong hatred for the boys from the bay.
3) @ Carolina (October 30th)
When the schedule came out I was praying that the Saints would get Carolina in the Dome opening weekend.
Sadly, God didn’t oblige.
The Panthers, fluke champions of the NFC South (sorry, but truth hurts) welcome the Saints to Charlotte for this pre-Halloween battle. While it’s unclear if whether or not Carolina’s 2013 season was a fluke, it should be a fun Thursday night showdown.
4) @ Dallas (September 28th)
Because of close proximity to Dallas, a large swath of North Louisiana residents are Cowboy fans while in South Louisiana, people tend to be Saint fans.
So in other words, the Saints-Cowboys rivalry is more or less a Louisiana civil war.
For the second year in a row, the Saints will square off against the Cowboys in prime time, this time at Jerry World.
Hopefully this time the Cowboys won’t give up 40 first downs.
5) @ Atlanta September 7th
Nearly 90 years ago, when General Robert Neyland took the head coaching job at the University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt was the premier football school in the state of Tennessee.
As legend has it, Neyland was told by UT officials to “even the score with Vanderbilt”.
In last 90 years, UT not only evened the score with their rivals in Nashville, but flat-out dominated the Commodores on the gridiron.
The same could be said about the Saints-Falcons rivalry, which has taken on a one-sided affair since 2006 as New Orleans has won 13 of 16 against the team in Atlanta. In fact, no Falcon coach has posted a winning record against the Saints since Dan Reeves left the scene in 2003.
Along with that, the last Falcon QB to have winning record against the Saints was Chris Chandler.
My time’s up. You’ve been a great audience. Enjoy the World Cup and I’ll be back next Monday with a blog post from the Cox Street office.