For the first time since the 2004 NFL Kickoff Weekend, the New Orleans Saints will begin their 2008 season with a regular season home game when they host their NFC South division rivals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, on Sunday, September 7 in a 12:00 p.m. kickoff.
The entire 2008 regular season schedule was unveiled today and the Saints are front-and-center in a variety of nationally-televised tilts, including two Monday Night Football games (against Minnesota and Green Bay) from the Superdome, as well as a Thursday night contest on the road at Chicago in December. Those games, coupled with the Saints' trip to London where they will face off against the San Diego Chargers, figure to prominently showcase the Saints to not only their legion of loyalists, but also to a national--and international--audiences.
Following their home opener the Saints will hit the road and head to the nation's capital on Sept. 14 for a game against the Washington Redskins and what will be the regular season home debut of Washington's new head coach, Jim Zorn. The Saints then head back on the road the following week when they travel to Denver on Sept. 21 for their first game in the Mile High City since a 30-28 victory on Christmas Eve in 1994. This season's meeting will be the teams' first regular season meeting at INVESCO Field.
The Saints then return home for three straight games, beginning with a Sept. 28 contest against the San Francisco 49ers, a team the Saints have defeated in each of the past two seasons. The homestand continues the following week with a Monday Night Football game on Oct. 6 when the Minnesota Vikings and their star runner, Adrian Peterson, roll into town. The three game homestand, the team's first three consecutive home games in three weeks since 1999, will conclude on Oct. 12 against the Oakland Raiders. The game could very well feature the homecoming of former LSU star quarterback JaMarcus Russell, the first pick overall in the 2007 NFL Draft.
The Saints will then get back into the fray in the NFC South when they travel to Charlotte to face off against the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 19. The two teams spilt the regular season series in 2007.
The Saints will then travel to London where they will host the San Diego Chargers at the legendary Wembley Stadium on Oct. 26 in a game set to kickoff at 12:00 p.m. CT. The game marks the first time the Saints will play a regular season game on foreign soil in the team history.
Following the trip across the pond, the Saints will be idle the following week on their bye week, which falls directly in the middle of the 2008 NFL schedule.
The Saints begin the second half of the 2008 schedule with a trip to Atlanta on Nov. 9 against the Falcons' new head coach, Mike Smith, and his squad, which will surely have a new look this season. The Saints swept the 2007 season series against the Falcons last season, but the Falcons enter the 2008 NFL Draft with 10 picks in the top 110 slots in the selection process.
The Black-and-Gold will continue their road ways on Nov. 16 when they make their first regular season appearance in Kansas City since 1997 and square off with the Chiefs. 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 as the subsequent seven contests, are subject to be moved to different time slots. The game is slated to be kicked off at 12:00 p.m. CT.
The Saints will then return home for their second Monday Night Football contest of the year, the first time since 1994 that the team will appear in two Monday Nighters, for a showdown against the Green Bay Packers on Nov. 24 in a 7:30 p.m. game. The Packers, coached by former Saints offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy, will be quarterbacked by someone other than Brett Favre for the first time since the 1992 season, on the heels on the Kiln, Miss. native's retirement from football last month in an emotional press conference.
The Saints will then travel to Tampa, the site of Super Bowl XLIII, for the second of their 2008 clashes with the defending 2007 NFC South champion Buccaneers.
The final month of the 2008 regular season schedule begins with the Saints returning to the Superdome to host the Atlanta Falcons on Dec. 7. The game falls on the 67th anniversary of "The Day That Shall Live in Infamy," when Japanese troops attacked Pearl Harbor and began the United States' involvement in World War II.
The Saints will then travel to Chicago for their third game in 25 months when they face off against the Bears on a Thursday Night Football game that will be televised by NFL Network.
The Saints will conclude their meetings against the NFC North when they make their final road trip of the 2008 regular season with a trip to Detroit on Dec. 21 to face the Lions.
The Saints will conclude their 2008 home ledger on Dec. 28 against the Carolina Panthers, the same team the Saints ended the 2006 regular season against en route to their march to the NFL Championship game.
2008 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
(All times CENTRAL)
|Sunday, Sept. 7||Tampa Bay||Noon||FOX|
|Sunday, Sept. 14||at Washington||Noon||FOX|
|Sunday, Sept. 21||at Denver||3:05 p.m.||FOX|
|Sunday, Sept. 28||San Francisco||Noon||FOX|
|Monday, Oct. 6||Minnesota||7:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sunday, Oct. 12||Oakland||Noon||CBS|
|Sunday, Oct. 19||at Carolina||Noon||FOX|
|Sunday, Oct. 26||San Diego (in London)||Noon||FOX|
|Sunday, Nov. 2||BYE|
|Sunday, Nov. 9||at Atlanta||Noon||FOX|
|Sunday, Nov. 16||at Kansas City||Noon||FOX|
|Monday, Nov. 24||Green Bay||7:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sunday, Nov. 30||at Tampa Bay||Noon||FOX|
|Sunday, Dec. 7||Atlanta||Noon||FOX|
|Thursday, Dec. 11||at Chicago||7:15 p.m.||NFL Network|
|Sunday, Dec. 21||at Detroit||Noon||FOX|
|Sunday, Dec. 28||Carolina||Noon||FOX|
*Times of the games in weeks 11-17 of the NFL Schedule (Nov. 16-Dec. 28) are subject to change due to NFL Flex Scheduling.
Click here to download a pdf version of the schedule.
A closer look at the Saints' schedule:
A look at the Saints' 2008 opponents, and dates:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Sept. 7, at Nov. 30): New Orleans holds a 19-15 edge in the all-time series against the Buccaneers, though Tampa Bay swept the two contests last year on the club's way to the NFC South title…The two clubs have been frequent foes, even before NFL realignment in 2002. From 1977-2001, the Saints and Buccaneers met 20 times… 13 of the last 18 games between the two clubs have been decided by a touchdown or less.
at Washington Redskins (Sept. 14): Game will mark the home debut of the Redskins' new head coach, Jim Zorn…The Saints have come away with victories in their only two trips to FedEx field, 24-20 in 2003 and 43-27 in 2002....At Washington in 2002, WR Michael Lewis became the first player in team history to return a punt and kickoff for a touchdown in the same game.
at Denver Broncos (Sept. 21): This will be the Saints' first regular-season trip to INVESCO Field, and the club's first regular-season game at Denver since Dec. 24, 1994 – a 30-28 victory for New Orleans. That game is the Saints' only road game against the Broncos since 1985.
vs. San Francisco 49ers (Sept. 28): While the 49ers lead the all-time series, 45-22, the recent history has been dominated by the Saints. New Orleans defeated the 49ers 31-10 on the road last season, and posted a 34-10 victory at the Superdome in 2006. The Saints are 4-0 against the 49ers since 2002, scoring over 30 points in all four contests. New Orleans also has a current streak of six straight victories over San Francisco at the Superdome.
vs. Minnesota Vikings (Oct. 6): The Vikings lead the series, 17-7…The Saints are 2-1 in their last three appearances on Monday Night Football, splitting last year's two games with a loss against Tennessee at home (Sept. 24) and a 34-14 victory at Atlanta. In 2006 vs. Atlanta in the reopening of the Superdome, the Saints prevailed, 23-3.
vs. Oakland Raiders (Oct. 12): The Saints and Raiders will meet for just the 11th time in the regular season and the first time since the Saints defeated Oakland 31-26 in 2004. The Saints have won two of the last three contests between the clubs at the Superdome, including the last Saints home shutout, a 27-0 win over the then Los Angeles Raiders in 1991.
Carolina Panthers (at Oct. 19, vs. Dec. 28): The Dec. 28th contest between the clubs will mark the fifth time the two clubs have ended a season against each other since Carolina entered the league in 1995. The Panthers hold a hold a 14-12 lead in the series, with the Saints winning the last meeting, 31-6, at Bank of America Stadium.
vs. San Diego Chargers (Oct. 26, London): Winners of just two of the nine meetings between the clubs, the Saints will be the home team when they play the Chargers at London's Wembley Stadium. The game will mark the first time the Saints have played a regular season game outside of the United States. Quarterback Drew Brees will suit up against his former team for the first time, having led the Chargers to a 43-17 win over the Saints in San Diego in 2004 when the two sides last met.
Atlanta Falcons (at Nov. 9, vs. Dec. 7): Atlanta holds a 42-34 regular-season advantage in the all-time series against the Saints, though New Orleans has won the last four meetings between the two clubs under Coach Sean Payton…The Saints have won the last four at the Superdome…The Saints have played the Falcons more than any other opponent.
at Kansas City Chiefs (Nov. 16): Although the Saints have visited Arrowhead Stadium in the preseason prior to each of the last two seasons, this game will be New Orleans' first regular season meeting at the Chiefs' home park since December 21, 1997. The all-time series between the two teams is knotted at four wins apiece, with Kansas City having won two of the three previous meetings in Missouri.
vs. Green Bay Packers (Nov. 24): The Saints are 6-14 all-time against the Packers…The Saints defeated Green Bay at Lambeau Field in 2006, a 34-27 victory after initially trailing 13-0. QB Drew Brees threw for 353 yards in the contest…This will be the first visit as head coach for Green Bay's Mike McCarthy, offensive coordinator for the Saints from 2000-04.
at Chicago Bears (Dec. 11): The Saints will visit Soldier Field for the third time in just over 23 months, having played the Bears on their home field in the NFC Championship game following the 2006 season and the 2007 regular season finale. Chicago took a 12-11 edge in the all-time regular season series with the 33-25 win last December. New Orleans will be featured on NFL Network for the first time in the regular season and on Thursday night for just the third time in team history, having split their first two games.
at Detroit Lions (Dec. 21): The Saints head to Ford Field for just the second time since the building opened in 2002, looking to even the all-time series as Detroit leads 9-8-1. The lone tie in the series – one of only five in Saints history – came 40 years ago in a 20-20 deadlock at Detroit's Tiger Stadium in 1968.