The NFL made sure Sean Payton’s return to New Orleans will be a drama-filled game

Sean Payton will coach against the New Orleans Saints for the first time since leaving the team, when the Denver Broncos come to town in Week 7.
Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders / Candice Ward/GettyImages

Once it was revealed that the New Orleans Saints would host the Denver Broncos for a game during the 2024 season, everyone said that the game had to be a primetime, Nationally televised game. The NFL obliged, announcing on Wednesday night that the Saints will kick off Week 7 on Thursday Night Football against the Broncos. It will be one of New Orleans’ three scheduled primetime games.

The reason everyone knew this would be a primetime game is the built in storyline. Sean Payton, head coach of the Denver Broncos, will be returning to New Orleans for the first time as a coach since retiring as the Saints coach in 2022. Payton was head coach in New Orleans from 2006 to 2021, leading the team to a ton of success, including a Super Bowl 44 victory. However, that probably won’t matter to Saints fans on October 17, in what should be a drama-filled game.

Sean Payton will take on the Saints in Week 7 on Thursday Night Football

With this game being in primetime, the eyes of the entire NFL world will be on it. That means there will be plenty of discussions about Payton returning to New Orleans. Regardless of how Payton feels about the team, the city, or the fans, and vice versa, the narrative machine will be working over time.

Beyond the narratives, this seems like it will be an important game for both teams, especially the Saints. New Orleans opens the season with four playoff teams in its first six games, including the Dallas Cowboys, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Kansas City Chiefs. The two games against non playoff teams are the Carolina Panthers and a road game against the Atlanta Falcons. Divisional games are always tough.

There’s a real possibility that the Saints could enter the Week 7 primetime game against the Payton-led Broncos with four or five losses. So on top of the Sean Payton-angle, New Orleans could be in an early must-win game. If Payton comes to town and delivers a knockout blow to a struggling Saints team, things will get ugly in New Orleans.