Saints open season against Tampa, NFL releases schedules

Posted at 8:26 PM, Apr 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-19 21:26:26-04


The New Orleans Saints announced today their 2018 regular season schedule, which kicks off at home on Sept. 9 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and features five prime time games. In addition to the Saints’ NFC South opponents, New Orleans will play each franchise in the NFC East and AFC North, with six teams that made the playoffs the previous season on the slate.

The Saints will open their season at home, when they play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, September 9 (12:00 p.m. CT), marking the third opener between New Orleans and Tampa Bay, with the Saints winning the 2002 and 2008 openers. Following the season opener, the Saints will host the Cleveland Browns on September 16 (12:00 p.m.). It marks the first time since 2004 the team will open the season with consecutive home games.

After playing their first two games at home, the Saints will take to the road in Week 3 to face the Atlanta Falcons on September 23 and then will go up the east coast to face the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 30, a contest with a 3:25 p.m. CT kickoff. New Orleans will return home for a Monday Night Football contest against the Washington Redskins on October 8 (7:15 p.m. CT). The club will then have their bye in Week 6 after having Week 5 byes in 2016 and 2017.

After the Week 6 bye, the Saints will move into a stretch where three of their next four games are on the road. The first road game consists of a Week 7 matchup at Baltimore on October 21. The Saints will then travel to U.S. Bank Stadium to face the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football in Week 8 (7:20 p.m. CT), before hosting the Los Angeles Rams in Week 9 (November 4) and traveling to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10 (November 11).

In Week 11, New Orleans will host the Super Bowl LII champion Philadelphia Eagles in a Sunday afternoon contest at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (November 18) followed by the franchise’s Thanksgiving home debut when they host the Falcons in a Thursday night contest (7:20 p.m. CT) which will be nationally televised on NBC. The Saints will then close out the month of November by playing on back-to-back Thursdays for the first time when they face the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Week 13 (November 29, 7:20 p.m. CT). As a part of the NFL’s expanded Thursday Night Football Package, the NFC South rivalry game will be broadcast nationally on FOX and the NFL Network.

The Saints will begin the month of December with a return to division play when they finish out the season series with the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium (December 9). In Week 14, New Orleans will face the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on Monday Night Football (Monday, December 17, 7:15 p.m. CT). This will close out the first three-game stretch of road contests for New Orleans since 2011.

Following the three consecutive road contests, the Saints will close out their regular season with two straight home games for the first time since 2011, as well. The Saints will host the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 23 (3:25 p.m. CT). The Saints will close out the 2018 regular season with a Week 17 home contest against Carolina (December 30).

10 of the Saints’ 16 games will be against teams that finished with a winning percentage of .500 or better in 2017, with games against six 2017 playoff clubs – Atlanta, Carolina, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. New Orleans will play each of their NFC South rivals twice, one game each against each of the NFC East and AFC North teams and will play the 2017 first place teams in the NFC North (at Minnesota) and NFC West (vs. Los Angeles Rams).

New Orleans’s eight regular season road games in 2018 will have the team travel only 13,734 miles (roundtrip) away from home after the team traveled a total of 24,004 miles (roundtrip) in 2017, including a trip to London (9,274 miles roundtrip). The longest trip will be the Week 4 trip to the New York Giants (2,632 miles roundtrip). In 2016, the Saints traveled 19,218 miles with the longest trip being a Week 9 contest at San Francisco (4,458 miles roundtrip).

Thanks to an away schedule that includes road contests at NFC South foes Carolina, Tampa Bay and Atlanta and at the Giants, Baltimore and Cincinnati, the Saints will leave the Central Time Zone six times over the course of the season to play in the Eastern Time Zone.

All New Orleans Saints games can be heard on WWL Radio (870 AM and 105.3 FM). PRIMESPORT, the Official Fan Travel Partner of the New Orleans Saints, has exclusive home and away game packages for Saints fans. For more information, please visit


(All times CENTRAL)

Date                         Opponent                                                                      Kickoff                                  TV          _

Aug. 9                    at Jacksonville Jaguars                                                     6:00 p.m.         FOX 8/Raycom Media

Aug. 17                  ARIZONA CARDINALS                                                   7:00 p.m.         FOX 8/Raycom Media

Aug. 25                   at Los Angeles Chargers                                                7:00 p.m.         CBS

Aug. 30                   LOS ANGELES RAMS                                                     7:00 p.m.         FOX 8/Raycom Media


(All times CENTRAL)

Date                      Opponent                                                                        Kickoff                                  TV_______

Sept. 9                 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS                                                  Noon                                  FOX

Sept. 16               CLEVELAND BROWNS                                                           Noon                                 FOX

Sept. 23               at Atlanta Falcons                                                              Noon                                    FOX

Sept. 30               at New York Giants                                                                 3:25 p.m.                            CBS

Oct. 8                   WASHINGTON REDSKINS (Monday)                               7:15 p.m.                         ESPN

Oct. 14                 BYE

Oct. 21                 at Baltimore Ravens                                                             3:05 p.m.                             FOX

Oct. 28                 at Minnesota Vikings                                                           7:20 p.m.                           NBC

Nov. 4                  LOS ANGELES RAMS                                                              3:25 p.m.                            FOX

Nov. 11                at Cincinnati Bengals                                                            Noon                                 FOX

Nov. 18                PHILADELPHIA EAGLES                                                       Noon                                 FOX

Nov. 22                ATLANTA FALCONS (Thursday)                                        7:20 p.m.                           NBC

Nov. 29                at Dallas Cowboys (Thursday)                                        7:20 p.m.                           FOX/NFLN

Dec. 9                   at Tampa Bay Buccaneers                                              Noon                                   FOX

Dec. 17                 at Carolina Panthers (Monday)                                      7:15 p.m.                            ESPN

Dec. 23                 PITTSBURGH STEELERS                                                      3:25 p.m.                              CBS

Dec. 30                 CAROLINA PANTHERS                                                        Noon                                   FOX


A look at the Saints’ 2018 regular season opponents, and dates:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. September 9, at December 9): New Orleans holds a 32-20 edge in the all-time series against the Buccaneers, the club’s best winning percentage (.615) versus an NFL opponent that they have played more than 11 times…This will mark the third time that the Saints and Buccaneers have opened their season, with New Orleans capturing the 2002 opener at Raymond James Stadium and the 2008 contest at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome…New Orleans is 18-11 all-time at home against Tampa Bay, capturing five of the last six home meetings…The Saints are 14-9 all-time in contests played at Tampa…In 2017, the Saints and Buccaneers split the season series for the third consecutive season with each club winning their home contest.

vs. Cleveland Browns (September 16): The Browns lead the series 13-4, with Cleveland having won the last meeting at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 14, 2014, 26-24…New Orleans is 2-5 all-time against the Browns at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, as they will be looking to get their first win in the series since a 19-14 victory at Cleveland on September 10, 2006, which marked the regular season debuts on Head Coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees…It’s New Orleans’ first inter-conference matchup of 2018.

Atlanta Falcons (at September 23, vs. November 22): The Saints will host a team on Thanksgiving for the first time in franchise history, their only other contest played on the holiday being a 30-27 win at Dallas on November 25, 2010…The matchups promise to provide plenty of fireworks as the Saints and Falcons split a pair of hotly contested games and both teams qualified for the playoffs…It will be the 12th season in 14 years that the Saints and Falcons will play on prime time after the two clubs did so only three times between 1967-2004, with New Orleans holding an 8-6 edge in the 14 prime time contests between the two clubs…It marks the second consecutive year and the third time in four seasons that the Saints and Falcons play each other on Thursday night…Atlanta holds a 51-46 regular-season advantage in the all-time series against the Saints, although New Orleans has won 16 of 24 meetings since 2006…The Saints have played the Falcons 97 times in the regular season, more than any other opponent…The Saints are 24-24 all-time against the Falcons at home….New Orleans is 22-27 all-time in games played at Atlanta.

at New York Giants (September 30): The Saints will face the Giants for the 30th time, with New York leading the series 16-13…Each club has held serve in contests played in their home stadium in the series since the Saints pulled off a 30-7 win at Giants Stadium on December 24, 2006…They have a 4-12 record in road games against the Giants…Payton served on the coaching staff of the Giants from 1999-2002, serving as offensive coordinator his last three seasons…New Orleans will be looking for their first win in MetLife Stadium in their fourth try, dropping two to the Giants and one to the Jets…The contest is the first of four matchups against NFC East opponents.

vs. Washington (October 8): The Redskins hold a 17-9 edge in the all-time series, but last season New Orleans broke a two-game losing streak as they made a fourth quarter comeback from a 15-point deficit as Brees completed 11 consecutive passes to eke out a 34-31 overtime win, which was New Orelans’ eighth straight victory on the season… The 2017 opener will be the 14th consecutive season the Saints are featured on Monday Night Football…The only other time the two clubs faced off on Monday night was on was a 20-3 win on November 23, 1992 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome…New Orleans will be looking for back-to-back home wins over Washington for the first time.

at Baltimore Ravens (October 21): New Orleans has posted their only victory against the Ravens in franchise history on the road, a 37-25 win on December 8, 2002…The Saints are 1-3 in road games in the series and 1-5 against the Ravens overall…The Ravens have won three straight in the series…The Ravens are the only team that Brees has not defeated in his 17-year NFL career…The contest will also mark a homecoming of sorts for tight end Benjamin Watson, who played for the Ravens from 2016-17, before rejoining the Saints as an unrestricted free agent in the 2018 offseason.

at Minnesota Vikings (October 28): Minnesota has a 19-10 edge in the regular season series and 3-1 in the postseason, after the Vikings won the season opener on Monday Night Football, 29-19 and the NFC Divisional Playoff, 29-24…Including the playoff game, it will be the third consecutive nationally televised contest between the Saints and Vikings…New Orleans has a 3-11 road record at Minnesota.

vs. Los Angeles Rams (November 4): The Saints close out the preseason by hosting the Rams on August 30 and they will host them again in Week 9…The Rams lead the regular season series 41-32 after a 26-20 win at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 26, 2017…In that contest, running back Alvin Kamara had a 74-yard touchdown run and to go with 101 yards receiving had 188 total yards from scrimmage and two total touchdowns… New Orleans has a 16-20 record when hosting the Rams in the regular season and also recorded their first playoff win in franchise history with a 31-28 victory in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 30, 2000…The Saints and Rams will meet for the seventh time in the last 10 years.

at Cincinnati Bengals (November 11): The Bengals lead the all-time series 7-6, following a 27-10 win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 16, 2014…New Orleans has posted a 4-3 mark in contests played at Cincinnati, including a 34-30 victory at Paul Brown Stadium on December 5, 2010.

vs. Philadelphia Eagles (November 18): The Saints will be hosting a defending Super Bowl champion in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the third consecutive season…When facing a defending Super Bowl champion, the Saints have posted a 7-21 all-time record, 2-11 at home…Philadelphia owns a 16-11 regular season advantage in the series…The Saints have an 8-7 regular season home record against the Eagles and have split two playoff meetings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

at Dallas Cowboys (November 29): Dallas owns a 16-12 advantage in the series, but the Saints have won five of seven meetings since Sean Payton became head coach in 2006…New Orleans has a 4-10 record at Dallas, but are 4-1 at the Cowboys since 2004…The last time the clubs met was October 4, 2015 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in a 26-20 Saints win where Brees tossed an 80-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage of overtime…The last meeting of the two teams at AT&T Stadium occurred on September 28, 2014 with the Cowboys edging the Saints 38-17.

Carolina Panthers (at December 17, vs. December 30): The Panthers lead the regular season series 24-22 with the Saints sweeping the regular season series for the first time since 2011 and then with a 31-26 NFC Wild Card Playoff game win over the Panthers defeated a team three times in the same season for the first time in the franchise’s 51-season history….The Saints are 11-12 all-time both home and away against the Panthers in the regular season…New Orleans won their first road matchup against the Panthers since 2011 with a 34-13 victory on September 24, 2017 as the Saints recorded three interceptions and Kamara scored his first career touchdown…On December 17, the Saints and Panthers play each other on Monday Night Football for the first time and the first time the Saints have visited an NFC South opponent on Monday night since a 34-14 win at Atlanta on December 10, 2007…The contests will mark the opportunity for one of New Orleans’ top 2018 free agent pickups, safety Kurt Coleman to play against his former club.

vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (December 23):  New Orleans’ final inter-conference matchup of 2018 will feature two of the NFL’s most prolific quarterbacks in Brees and Ben Roethlisberger…The two have combined for 121,510 career passing yards and 817 touchdown passes…The Saints lead the all-time series 8-7 and most recently got the best of the Steelers in a contest between the two gunslingers at Heinz Field when they defeated Pittsburgh 35-32 on November 30, 2014, when Brees threw five touchdowns and defensive end Cameron Jordan had a sack and his first career interception…New Orleans’ 20-10 win over Pittsburgh on Sunday night, October 31, 2010 gave the Saints a 3-2 record at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against the Steelers.