The NFL announced the 2013 regular season schedule Thursday and the New Orleans Saints will be featured in at least four prime-time nationally-televised games during the regular season, including two at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints will also open at home for the second consecutive season, when they host the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 8 (noon CT).
New Orleans' first two prime-time contests will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, starting against the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football on Sept. 30 (7:40 p.m. CT). On Nov. 10, the Saints will make their season debut on NBC's Sunday Night Football when they host the Dallas Cowboys (7:30 p.m. CT). The Saints' slot on the NFL Network's Thursday night package will be the first of two back-to-back prime-time games when they travel to the Georgia Dome to play the Atlanta Falcons (7:25 p.m. CT) on Nov. 21, followed by a Monday night game at the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 2 (7:40 p.m. CT).
Seven of the Saints' 16 games will be against teams that finished with a winning percentage of .500 or better in 2012, including games against four playoff opponents – Atlanta, New England, San Francisco and Seattle. New Orleans will play each of their NFC South rivals twice and will play one game each against each of the AFC East and NFC West teams.
"The schedule comes out and it's always a little different when the season starts," said Saints Head Coach Sean Payton. "It's hard to look at the schedule now and begin to pencil in what teams are going to be like. A lot of times the game prior to when you play someone factors in. I look right away at the West Coast trips, traveling and the prime time spots. We are playing two very good divisions. When you talk about the NFC West, certainly they are the most improved division in football over the last couple of years. It's always a great time when people can get the dates and they can begin to plan, not only home games, but the away games they might want to go to."
The Saints will open the season with three out of four games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. After kicking off the regular season against the Falcons, they will then travel to Tampa Bay to stay in NFC South play to face the Buccaneers on Sept. 15 (3:05 p.m.). New Orleans will face their first NFC West opponent of 2013 when they host the Arizona Cardinals at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sept. 22 (noon CT) followed up by the Monday night contest against the Dolphins to close out the month of September.
The Saints will then travel to Soldier Field to face the Chicago Bears on Oct. 6 (noon CT), followed by a trip to Foxborough, Mass. to play the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Oct. 13 (3:25 p.m. CT). After a week seven bye, New Orleans will close out their October slate on Oct. 27 (noon CT), when they play their second straight AFC East opponent when they host the Buffalo Bills.
To open November, a month where the Saints have posted a 14-2 mark since 2009, New Orleans will travel to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. to play the New York Jets on Nov. 3 (noon, CT). New Orleans then hosts Dallas on Sunday Night Football at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Nov. 10, followed by another home matchup against the San Francisco 49ers (3:25 p.m. CT) on Nov. 27. New Orleans will then play Atlanta in prime time for the eighth time in nine seasons when they travel to the Georgia Dome to face the Falcons on Nov. 21, followed by the Monday night clash in Seattle after an 11-day break.
The Saints will play Carolina two times in three weeks, starting when they host the Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Dec. 8 (noon, CT), followed two weeks later by a trip to Bank of America Stadium on Dec. 22 (noon, CT). Other December contests on the slate include a trip to the St. Louis Rams on Dec. 15 (noon, CT) and then the regular season finale vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Dec. 29 (noon, CT).
2013 New Orleans Saints Regular Season Schedule
|at New England
|at New York Jets
|at St. Louis
Home games in bold
A look at the Saints' 2013 opponents, and dates:
Atlanta Falcons (vs. Sept. 8, at Nov. 21): This will mark the first time that the Saints have opened against the Falcons since Sept. 7, 1986 at the Superdome…It will be the fifth consecutive season and eighth time in nine years that the Saints and Falcons will play on prime time after the two clubs did so only three times between 1967-2004…Atlanta holds a 46-41 regular-season advantage in the all-time series against the Saints, although New Orleans has won 11 of 14 meetings since 2006…The Saints have played the Falcons 87 times, more than any other opponent…On November 11 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the Saints dealt the Falcons their first loss of the season in a 31-27 win…On November 29 at the Georgia Dome, the Falcons ended Brees' NFL record of consecutive games with a touchdown pass at 54 in a 23-13 win.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at Sept. 15, vs. Dec. 29): New Orleans holds a 25-17 edge in the all-time series against the Buccaneers, the club's best winning percentage (.595) versus an NFL opponent that they have played more than five times…In 2012, New Orleans swept the season series for the first time since 2006, including a 41-0 win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 16, the team's first shutout since 1995.
vs. Arizona Cardinals (Sept. 22): While the Cardinals hold a 14-12 edge in the all-time regular season series, the Saints were on the winning end of the last meeting at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, a 45-14 victory in the NFC Divisional Playoff on January 16, 2010…Including the playoff game, the Saints have won the last three home contests.
vs. Miami Dolphins (Sept. 30 ): This will be the first time that the Saints host the Dolphins in the regular season at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome since a 33-30 win on October 30, 1995, the longest between home contests for an opponent…A contest in 2005 originally scheduled to be played in the Superdome was played at LSU's Tiger Stadium due to Hurricane Katrina…The Saints won in South Florida for the first time in their last meeting with the Dolphins, a 46-24 victory at Sun Life Stadium on October 25, 2009, when New Orleans improved to 5-0, as they overcame a 21-point deficit for only the third time in franchise history, a highlight in a season where they would return to Sun Life to capture Super Bowl XLIV…The Saints and Dolphins will also play in the preseason at Sun Life Stadium on August 29.
at Chicago Bears (Oct. 6): The Saints will be seeking their first home win at Soldier Field since 2000 and will be looking to try to tie the regular season series at 13-13... Chicago owns a 13-12 advantage in the series, but New Orleans was on the winning end last time in a 30-13 victory on September 18, 2011 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
at New England Patriots (Oct. 13): In a matchup featuring two of the NFL's top quarterbacks in Drew Brees and Tom Brady, the Patriots and Saints ranked first and second in the NFL in net yards per game in 2012…While the Patriots lead the all-time series 8-4, New Orleans got the best of New England on November 30, 2009 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in a 38-17 win on Monday Night Football when Brees threw touchdowns to five different players and posted a perfect 158.3 passer rating to improve to 11-0.
vs. Buffalo Bills (Oct. 27): The Saints hold a 5-4 edge in the series, having won the last two contests, making the Bills one of nine teams New Orleans has a winning record against all-time…The Saints will be looking for their first win against the Bills in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with their two previous home wins occurring at Tulane Stadium on November 4, 1973 in a 13-0 shutout and a 19-7 victory on October 2, 2005 in a game played at San Antonio's Alamodome because of Hurricane Katrina…It will also mark Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone's return to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome after he served as offensive coordinator/offensive line of the Saints from 2006-08 and also played guard for the Black and Gold in 1989.
at New York Jets (Nov. 3): The Saints lead the series 6-5 after capturing the last two games…Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is the twin brother of Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan…The Saints will visit MetLife Stadium for the second consecutive year after facing the Giants in 2012…The game will close out the Saints' 2013 slate against AFC opponents and will be the third consecutive contest they will have faced an interconference team.
vs. Dallas Cowboys (Nov. 10): Although the Cowboys lead the all-time series 15-10, the Saints have won seven of the last eight meetings…On December 23, 2012, the Saints escaped from Cowboys Stadium with a 34-31 overtime win, as Brees threw for 446 yards while K Garrett Hartley's 20-yard field goal in overtime sent the Saints back to New Orleans winners.
vs. San Francisco 49ers (Nov. 17): These two old NFC West rivals will meet for the 73rd time in the regular season…The only other team the Saints have faced more often are the Atlanta Falcons (87)…Although San Francisco leads the series 46-24-2, New Orleans has won six of the last seven regular season meetings between the two clubs.
at Seattle Seahawks (Dec. 2): The Saints lead the all-time series, 6-5, having won the last two regular season meetings…This will be the second straight regular season prime time meeting between the Saints and Seahawks at Qwest Field, the last a 28-17 Saints win on October 14, 2007…The last time the Saints faced the Seahawks was in a 41-36 loss in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Qwest Field on January 8, 2011.
Carolina Panthers (vs. Dec. 8, at Dec. 22): The Panthers lead the series 19-17 after Carolina swept the season series in 2012 for the first time since 2008…The Saints and Panthers will face off twice in the same month for only the second time, the other occasion occurring in October, 2003.
at St. Louis Rams (Dec. 15): St. Louis has a 39-31 edge in the all-time regular season series, but the Saints have captured two of the last three regular season meetings. The old NFC West foes have split six meetings since the Saints joined the NFC South following the 2001 season.