The New Orleans Saints will open up the defense of their Super Bowl XLIV title with a rematch of the 2009 NFC Championship, starting their 2010 season with two consecutive nationally-broadcast, prime-time contests, it was announced by the NFL today. A club record five prime-time games are on the slate, including their first appearance on Thanksgiving. The Saints will kick off the NFL regular season on Thursday, September 9, when they host the Minnesota Vikings on NBC (7:30 p.m. CT) at the Louisiana Superdome.
After taking on the Vikings, the Saints will be featured in prime-time in back-to-back contests for the first time in franchise history when they travel to face the San Francisco 49ers on ESPN Monday Night Football (7:30 p.m. CT) on September 20. The Saints and their former NFC West foes have enjoyed a storied rivalry, with New Orleans winning the last five meetings that have occurred since divisional re-alignment in 2002.
The Saints then return home to open their NFC South slate when they host the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 26 for a noon contest. Atlanta leads the series between the longtime division rivals 44-37, but the Saints swept both games last year and have won seven of their last eight. The Saints will take on their second divisional opponent the next week on October 3, when the Carolina Panthers come to town. The Panthers lead the all-time series 17-13 and the two clubs split last season.
The Saints then make their first regular season trip to University of Phoenix Stadium on Oct. 10, when they play the Arizona Cardinals (3:05 p.m. CT) as they Saints face another opponent from the 2009 postseason. The Saints then remain on the road as they travel to Raymond James Stadium to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at noon on Oct. 17. The Saints are 21-15 all-time against the Buccaneers after the two clubs split both meetings in 2009.
New Orleans will then host two of the four AFC North foes that are on their schedule, starting with a contest against the Cleveland Browns on Oct. 24 at noon. The Saints defeated the Browns 19-14 in the head coaching debut of Sean Paytonin 2006. On Halloween night, the Super Bowl XLIV champions will face the winner of Super Bowl XLIII, when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers in a contest nationally televised by NBC (7:20 p.m. CT). The following Sunday on Nov. 7, the Saints will travel to Bank of America Stadium for a rematch with Carolina, before enjoying a bye the following week.
The Saints will return from their bye and host the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 21, led by new head coach Pete Carroll, who coached RB Reggie Bush and DT Sedrick Ellisat the University of Southern California. The game, which falls on the 11th week of the NFL season, marks the beginning of the NFL's flex scheduling format and the game, as well four other contests are subject to be moved to different time slots. The game is slated to be kicked off at 3:05 p.m. CT.
The Black-and-Gold will return to the national spotlight in their first trip to Cowboys Stadium, the site of Super Bowl XLV, when they play Dallas (3:00 p.m. CT) for their first appearance on Thanksgiving. The Saints will be looking to avenge last December's 24-17 loss to the Cowboys that snapped a 13-0 start.
New Orleans then travels to Cincinnati to play the 2009 AFC North champion Bengals in a game scheduled for noon on Dec. 5, followed by a home matchup vs. former NFC West foe St. Louis, Dec. 12. The Saints will then travel to Baltimore for a Dec. 19 game against the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium before closing the regular season against two straight NFC South opponents.
On Monday, Dec. 27, the Saints will travel to Atlanta for an ESPN-broadcast showdown with the Falcons (7:30 p.m. CT). The game will mark the second-straight year that the Saints will face the Falcons on Monday Night Football, the fifth such occurrence in the last six seasons. New Orleans will then close out their regular season on Jan. 2, hosting Tampa Bay at the Superdome (Noon CT).
2010 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
(All times CENTRAL)
Date Opponent Kickoff TV
Sept. 9 MINNESOTA VIKINGS (Thursday) 7:30 pm NBC
Sept. 20 at San Francisco 49ers (Monday) 7:30 pm ESPN
Sept. 26 ATLANTA FALCONS Noon FOX
Oct. 3 CAROLINA PANTHERS Noon FOX
Oct. 10 at Arizona Cardinals 3:05 pm FOX
Oct. 17 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Noon FOX
Oct. 24 CLEVELAND BROWNS Noon CBS
Oct. 31 PITTSBURGH STEELERS 7:20 pm NBC
Nov. 7 at Carolina Panthers Noon FOX
Nov. 14 BYE
Nov. 21 SEATTLE Noon FOX
Nov. 25 at Dallas Cowboys (Thursday) 3:00 pm FOX
Dec. 5 at Cincinnati Bengals Noon FOX
Dec. 12 ST. LOUIS RAMS Noon FOX
Dec. 19 at Baltimore Ravens Noon FOX
Dec. 27 at Atlanta Falcons (Monday) 7:30 pm ESPN
Jan. 2 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS Noon FOX