After Further Review: Five takes on the Saints 2023 schedule
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Take one: Early road warriors
The first twelve weeks of the Saints reads: home, away, away, home, away, away, home, away, home, away, bye, away.
That’s four home games in the first twelve weeks of the season. One of those home games is on a short week. Regardless of opponents 2022 record, that’s not an easy stretch to navigate for any team.
Take Two: Thursday night specials & short weeks
Speaking of short weeks, the Saints have three this season thanks to two Thursday night games and a Monday night.
This is not the first time the Saints have had two Thursday games in a season. When it happened before, it was in consecutive weeks giving them a full week’s rest in between. But this year, it will be two separate Thursdays. Their first one is at home against Jacksonville coming off a road game against Houston. Their second one is Christmas week on the road against LA coming off a home game against New York.
A short week coming off a Monday night game is nothing new. What stood out about this one though is the Monday night game is on the road and so is the following game against Green Bay.
Take Three: December home stretch
The flip side of a brutal road stretch to open the season, is that there’s an abundance of home games to close things out.
The Saints will play three straight home games in weeks 13, 14 and 15. Throw in the season finale against Atlanta, and the Saints finish at home in four of their last six games.
Take Four: Improved Bye week
A week 11 bye week is a much better option than the one the Saints had a season ago.
The team didn’t want the early off week after their week four London game, no one could foresee the league would give them the exact opposite by handing them one of the latest byes they’ve ever had well into December. It clearly had an impact on their season. With the amount of injuries they dealt with, having the bye week a little sooner may helped stabilize things. Remember, they won three straight after the off week last season. But by that time they were already in too big of a hole.
This year, that open date comes close to mid season in November which falls in a much better time in the NFL calendar.
Take Five: Other Observations
- Despite the early road gauntlet, the Saints could realistically be 4-2 or better after the first six weeks of the season. That would be huge for a team that’s always thrived off fast starts to seasons.
- The Saints will play 13 indoor games this season.
- Trevor Lawrence may be the best quarterback the Saints will face all season.
- With their Green Bay matchup in September, the team avoids a major cold weather game. Although last season, arguably their best game came in frigid conditions in Cleveland.
- I hesitate to use the word ‘easy’ in the NFL. The line between the best and worst team is razor thin. However, on paper this schedule looks very manageable for the Saints.
- My initial prediction for 2023: 10-7.
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