Early thoughts and highlights from the Saints’ 2022 schedule

Some highlights and thoughts on the Saints’ schedule.

Open against Atlanta

Anticipation for this season is already extremely high with the additions of wide receiver Chris Olave and safety Tyrann Mathieu, and with Michael Thomas coming back after missing all of last year with an ankle injury. But having the first game come against the Falcons takes things to a different level. The only downside is that the Sept. 11 opener comes on the road, but at least people won’t have to wait very long with a noon kickoff. Otherwise, though, this is about as good as it gets.

Facing Brady without Maye

New Orleans will likely be without safety Marcus Maye early in the season as he serves a suspension for a previous DUI arrest. Not a massive deal against Atlanta, but it might hurt during the Week 2 game against Tampa Bay when the Saints host the Buccaneers at noon. One of the reasons for acquiring Maye and Mathieu was to create a dynamic pairing of safeties who can do anything and everything on any given snap. The Saints won’t have that, at least not entirely, early in the year, which could hurt with some of the ability to disguise. That could hurt a little bit going against Tom Brady.

No bye after London (it’s in Week 14)

Having a bye in Week 5 would have been a little early in the season, but having to play the Seahawks at home the next week is still brutal. New Orleans is going to have a significant challenge with the quick turnaround. The team will have to manage the situation and try to avoid burning out because it is a long time until the bye comes in December. And though the team is at home against Seattle in Week 5 and Cincinnati in Week 6, the team then has a short week against the Cardinals in Week 7 on the road for a Thursday game. The start of the season will be extremely tough, and this team needs to find a way to manage everything without falling into a hole.

Bengals in Week 6

Just in case you’re scrolling and not reading closely, the Saints play the Bengals on Oct. 16 at the Superdome. Early pick for game of the year.

Critical stretch

The most difficult stretch of the season will come before the bye, when the Saints play at home against the Rams in Week 11, at San Francisco in Week 12 and at Tampa Bay in Week 13. Surviving that will likely be the key to the season. New Orleans will need to win at least one of those games. Getting two would be like stealing. All three of those teams will likely be in the NFC playoffs next year, and we should have a very clear understanding of what the Saints can be after that stretch of games.

Away for the holidays

Your view on how you want to spend the holidays will determine if you’re happy about the team playing on Christmas Eve in Cleveland. The Saints have become a holiday team the last few years, which doesn’t appear to be changing. The league likes to put them in these showcase spots. At least this one is at noon, so there shouldn’t be too many scheduling conflicts with your holiday plans. This game could be a tough one, especially since quarterback Deshaun Watson could be back on the field by then.

Not much primetime

For now, at least, New Orleans only has three primetime games: Week 7 at Arizona (Thursday), Week 9 against Baltimore (Monday) and Week 13 at Tampa Bay (Monday). Ten games are at noon, two got listed as TBD, the 49ers game is at 3:25 and the Minnesota game in London is at 8:30 a.m.

Full schedule

Week 1 at Atlanta Falcons, 12 p.m., Fox
Week 2 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 12 p.m., Fox
Week 3 at Carolina Panthers, 12 p.m., Fox
Week 4 vs. Minnesota Vikings (Tottenham), 8:30 a.m., NFL Network
Week 5 vs. Seattle Seahawks, 12 p.m., Fox
Week 6 vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 12 p.m., CBS
Week 7 at Arizona Cardinals, 7:15 p.m. (Thursday), Amazon Prime
Week 8 vs. Las Vegas Raiders, 12 p.m., CBS
Week 9 vs. Baltimore Ravens, 7:15 p.m. (Monday), ESPN
Week 10 at Pittsburgh Steelers, 12 p.m., Fox
Week 11 vs Los Angeles Rams, 12 p.m., Fox
Week 12 at San Francisco 49ers, 3:25 p.m., Fox
Week 13 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 7:15 p.m. (Monday), ESPN
Week 14 Bye
Week 15 vs. Atlanta Falcons, TBD
Week 16 at Cleveland Browns, 12 p.m. (Saturday), CBS
Week 17 at Philadelphia Eagles, 12 p.m., Fox
Week 18 vs. Carolina Panthers, TBD

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