Sep 22, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints middle linebacker Curtis Lofton (50) against the Arizona Cardinals before a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Cardinals 31-7. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Now that we can pull back a small part of our excitement from the 2014 NFL schedule release, it’s time to look at the New Orleans Saints schedule a little closer.
Schedule Overview (All Times Central)
Week 1: 9/7 (Sunday) at Atlanta (12PM)
Week 2: 9/14 (Sunday) at Cleveland (12PM)
Week 3: 9/21 (Sunday) Minnesota (12PM)
Week 4: 9/28 (Sunday) at Dallas (7:30PM) ***Prime Time***
Week 5: 10/5 (Sunday) Tampa Bay (12PM)
Week 6: BYE
Week 7: 10/19 (Sunday) at Detroit (12PM)
Week 8: 10/26 (Sunday) Green Bay (7:30PM) ***Prime Time***
Week 9: 10/30 (Thursday) at Carolina (7:25PM) ***Prime Time***
Week 10: 11/9 (Sunday) San Francisco (12PM)
Week 11: 11/16 (Sunday) Cincinnati (12 PM)
Week 12: 11/24 (Monday) Baltimore (7:30PM) ***Prime Time***
Week 13: 11/30 (Sunday) at Pittsburgh (12PM)
Week 14: 12/7 (Sunday) Carolina (12PM)
Week 15: 12/15 (Monday) at Chicago (7:30PM) ***Prime Time***
Week 16: 12/21 (Sunday) Atlanta (12PM)
Week 17: 12/28 (Sunday) at Tampa Bay (12PM)
Strength of Schedule: 23rd Overall (.469)
Prime Time Matchups: Five (Two Sunday Night Football games, two Monday Night Football games, one Thursday Night Football game)
The Good: Though the teams faces three straight challenging foes from Week 10-12 (49ers, Bengals, Ravens), all of these games will be hosted in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Five of the final eight matchups will be played in the Superdome, and the team will look to capitalize on the 8-0 home record from a year ago.
The Bad: The team traditionally gets to play prime time games in the Superdome, but of the five to be played, only two will be in New Orleans this year. The team also plays their third straight Thursday Night Football game on the road this season, but it will be the Carolina Panthers this time. The team will already be coming off a very short week hosting the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football. I’m sure everyone looked at the December part of the schedule, and yes, playing in Chicago on December 15th will bring up all the ‘cold weather’ chatter.
The Ugly: The Saints open the season traveling three times out of four weeks in the month of September. In fact, the team has four of their first six matchups on the road. The September road trip itself isn’t bad (New Orleans to Atlanta, New Orleans to Cleveland, New Orleans to Dallas), but the team will be tested early facing their hated NFC South rival, the Falcons, and will not have any sort of cake walk with the Browns and Cowboys. The road record of the team last year was a dismal 3-5.
The Weird: The team plays three straight AFC North opponents from Week 11-13 (Bengals, Ravens, @Steelers). The Saints have ZERO late games scheduled this season, and the team only plays on CBS once (officially). Of the teams the Saints play this season, they don’t play a 2013 playoff team until Week 9 (Panthers).
Circle Your Calendars: Former players playing against the team this season will always be anticipated, so in order of importance, here’s what I have.
Lance Moore, at Steelers (11/30)
Roman Harper, at Panthers (10/30) | Panthers (12/7)
Jed Collins, at Lions (10/19)
Brian de la Puente, at Bears (12/15)
Tom Johnson, Vikings (9/21)
As a side note, we can’t forget that fullback Erik Lorig, who will face his former squad (Bucs) 10/5 and 12/28.
Quick Hits & Fun Facts
- Last Year’s Big Rematches: Cowboys, 49ers, Panthers
- Brees Watch – The Baltimore Ravens are the only team that quarterback Drew Brees has not won against
- Familiar Foes – This is the fourth time in five years the team plays the Cowboys, and the third straight season we host the 49ers at home
- Speaking of the Cowboys, the Saints have won eight of the last nine matchups against Jerry and company. The fun part? They have met in prime time four out of the last five matchups (2013, 2010, 2009, 2006)
- The team has not played the NFC North since 2011, and the AFC North since 2010
- Last year’s preseason opponents were all AFC teams (Raiders, Chiefs, Texans, Dolphins)
- Just when you thought it was over, the Saints close the season against the Bucs. Why do I bring this up? Aside from last season, 2007 was the last year to find the last time the Saints played someone other than the Panthers (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012) or Bucs (2010, 2013) for the finale, and that opponent was the Bears.
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