With the New Orleans Saints schedule out in the open, fans know what the path to making it back to the playoffs looks like in the 2022 season.
Unfortunately for the black and gold, they are tied with the Raiders for the seventh-most difficult schedule based on teams with winning records a season ago, according to CBS Sports.
It’s not hard to see why the Saints boast one of the toughest schedules, as they face eight teams who made it into the postseason last year. These don’t even include fringe-playoff contenders from a season ago, including the Ravens and Browns, bumping up the tough teams to 10 of the 14 opponents. Yikes.
With the schedule now public knowledge, let’s home in on the most difficult part of the schedule for the Saints as they enter year 1 of the Dennis Allen era.
What’s the most difficult stretch on the 2022 Saints’ schedule?
The Saints better get off to a solid start because the schedule gets reaaaaaally difficult after their Week 5 game vs. Seattle. They’ll remain home at least, but in Week 6, the reigning AFC champion Bengals come to the Caesars Superdome and that’s not going to be a picnic.
From there, the Saints have a short week and have to travel to Glendale to face the Cardinals on Thursday Night Football. Any time a team has to go on the road for Thursday Night Football, they’re at a major disadvantage, plus the Cardinals made the postseason last year and are not a team to sleep on.
At least the schedule-makers rewarded New Orleans with a longer week to recover from their Thursday night game in Week 8, as they return home to host the Raiders on Monday Night Football. They remain home the following week for a date with the Ravens in Week 9. The Raiders made the playoffs last season and even though the Ravens didn’t, they’re typically in contention to vie for a Super Bowl.
In Week 10, the Saints head to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers and while, on paper, that seems like a winnable game, the Steelers are always competitive no matter who their quarterback is. Don’t sleep on that matchup.
The next three weeks will pit the Saints against the Rams, 49ers, and Buccaneers with only the Rams game taking place in the Caesars Superdome. The 49ers game is a late afternoon kickoff and the Bucs game the following week is on Monday night.
Once the Bucs game is over with, NOLA will finally have their BYE week and that ends the most difficult part of their schedule. After the BYE isn’t a picnic, as they’ll face the Falcons, Browns, Eagles, and Panthers to close out the season but that isn’t quite the gauntlet that is Weeks 6-13.
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If the Saints can hold a respectable record during that brutal stretch, they should be smooth sailing into the playoffs.