Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The schedule has been released!

Start making your travel plans, Saints fans. The Saints schedule has been announced. Check it out here!

Ignoring the preseason (which always means nothing), the schedule looks very promising on a number of fronts. First off, the Saints face the Detroit Lions at home to start the year. That's the same team that went 0-16 last season and it's the same team the Saints beat 42-7 several months ago. That is a huge way to start the season and the Saints have to take advantage of it. 

The Saints then get road games @ Philadelphia and @ Buffalo to follow. Those will both be tough games and hopefully we can split them. The bottom line, though, is we're going into very COLD territory in the middle of September. I'd prefer that to a trip to the east coast in the pits of December in desperate need for a win. We'll then face a Brett Favre-less Jets team (that is assuming he doesn't un-retire again) at home. That's a pretty good 4 games to start the season and I think 3-1 is very attainable. My only gripe is we then get a bye week and I would prefer to take advantage of one much later in the season.

Following a week off, the Saints host the Giants in a terrific matchup against an NFC powerhouse. We'll get a chance to measure up against the best and see how we fare, and we'll get a chance to do that at home. The dome will be rockin' for sure. We'll then go to Miami to play an overachieving Dolphins team. The following weekend we'll get our first of 3 nationally televised games playing host to the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football. I think 5-2 through this point is also very attainable. 

Following the Monday night game the Saints will play at home again. Travel after a Monday night game is always brutal, so this is another advantage as we play host to the Carolina Panthers. Following this, we're looking at a road trip to a domed stadium (Rams) and warm weather (Tampa Bay). I think we should realistically expect a 1-2 stretch with these games which would put us at 6-4. 

The Saints then host their next Monday night game, against another powerhouse in the New England Patriots. Once again, they'll get a chance to measure up against the best and do so at home. A huge opportunity. One thing I like about the trip to DC (against Redskins) following the Monday Night game is that I think the Saints are still bitter about last season's meltdown @ Washington and will be motivated to get payback. The Saints then go home to face the Cowboys on a Saturday night game on NFL Network, before hosting Tampa Bay and closing out the season at Carolina. I'm hoping we split those 4 games and my initial reaction is: It is entirely possible the Saints end the season with a 10-6 record. Before you get all up in arms about that record, consider that the Falcons, Panthers and Buccaneers all are included in the top 5 hardest schedules in the NFL (which is based on their opponents' records in 2008). The coldest game the Saints will endure is Washington DC on December 6th. By comparison, Atlanta has to go to New York on December 20th, Carolina has to go to Foxboro on December 13th AND New York on December 27th, and Tampa has to go to Seattle on December 20th. Brrrrrrr, sounds cold! I think this is a terrific schedule and we are in GREAT shape.