New Orleans Saints: 5 Must-Win Games of 2016

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Jan 3, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton on the sideline in the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The Saints won 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton on the sideline in the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The Saints won 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 6, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton (R) and defensive coordinator Dennis Allen (C) look on from the sidelines during the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 6, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton (R) and defensive coordinator Dennis Allen (C) look on from the sidelines during the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

We’re nearing the last month of waiting for football to return, and the New Orleans Saints seem ready to be contenders in 2016.

While football fans will be blessed with the NFL returning to the big screen with the league’s Pro Football Hall of Fame festivities this weekend, the reality is that we won’t be short of football on Sundays until 2017. The Saints look to get back into contention for the new season after back-to-back 7-9 losing seasons, and it won’t be easy.

On the surface, the Saints have a tough strength of schedule. In fact, it’s the league’s fourth-highest. However, the AFC and NFC West foes are arguably different opponents this season. With the Saints facing an early Week 5 bye, they will be very tested out of the gate through the first four weeks. Afterwards, they’ll have their hands full with a grueling mid-season schedule.

Here’s the Top 5 must-win games of the 2016 season, no matter how the Saints season goes.

Next: No. 5

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