Saints 2017 schedule announced

Fans react to just-released 2017 Saints schedule
Published: Apr. 20, 2017 at 11:09 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 20, 2017 at 11:47 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The National Football League announced the 2017 regular season schedule tonight and the highlights for the New Orleans Saints slate includes at least two prime time nationally-televised games, a nationally broadcast contest from London's Wembley Stadium and a home opener against the defending Super Bowl champions.

The Saints will open their season on the road in prime time, when they play the Minnesota Vikings Monday, September 11 (6:10 p.m. CT) at U.S. Bank Stadium in a Monday Night Football matchup, marking the fourth time that New Orleans has played Minnesota on opening day. It will be the first time New Orleans has opened up their season in prime time since 2011, the sixth time overall and the second time (first, September 10, 1990 vs. San Francisco) they have opened on Monday Night Football. It will also be the start of a four-game stretch to othat features three away contests.

Following the season opener, the Saints will begin their 2017 Mercedes-Benz Superdome slate when they host the Super Bowl LI champion New England Patriots on September 17. The Saints go back on the road for the debut of their NFC South slate in Week 3 and then will go across the pond to face the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium on October 1, a contest with an 8:30 a.m. CT kickoff. The club will have their bye in Week 5 for the second consecutive season.

After the Week 5 bye, the Saints will return to a four-game stretch that features three NFC North opponents and a division rival. The first home game consists of a Week 6 matchup vs. Detroit on October 15. The Saints will then travel to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers in Week 7 (October 22), before hosting the Chicago Bears in Week 8 (October 29) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 9 (November 5).

In Week 10, New Orleans will take on the Buffalo Bills in a 12:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon contest at New Era Field (November 12) before returning home to host the Washington Redskins in Week 11 (November, 19). The Saints will close out the month by embarking to the West Coast to play the Los Angeles Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Week 12 (November 26, 3:05 p.m. CT).

Following the Saints' first regular season trip to Los Angeles since 1994, the Saints will begin the month of December with a return to division play after a one-month hiatus when they play host to the Panthers (December 3). In Week 14, New Orleans will face the Atlanta Falcons at the newly constructed Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Thursday Night Football (Thursday, December 7,  7:25 p.m. CT). As a part of the NFL's expanded Thursday Night Football Package, the NFC South rivalry game will be broadcast nationally NBC and the NFL Network, and will also be streamed live by Amazon.

The stretch of New Orleans' final three regular season contests begins with a Week 15 home matchup against the New York Jets (December 17). Following the game against the Jets, the Saints will host the Falcons on Christmas Eve (December 24). The Saints will close out 2017 with a Week 17 road contest at Tampa Bay (December 31), marking the fourth consecutive campaign that New Orleans has finished the regular season on the road.

Ten of the Saints' 16 games will be against teams that finished with a winning percentage of .500 or better in 2016, with games against five playoff opponents – Atlanta, Detroit, Green Bay, Miami and the Super Bowl LI champion New England Patriots. New Orleans will play each of their NFC South rivals twice, one game each against each of the NFC North and AFC East teams and will play the 2016 third place team in the NFC East (vs. Washington) and NFC West (at Los Angeles Rams).

New Orleans's eight regular season road games in 2017 will have the team travel a total of 24,004 miles (roundtrip) away from home. A Week 4 trip to London results in 9,274 miles round trip. Last season the Saints traveled 19,218 miles with the longest trip being a Week 9 contest at San Francisco (2,229 miles).

Thanks to an away schedule that includes road contests at NFC South foes Carolina, Tampa Bay and Atlanta and at the Dolphins in London, Buffalo and the Los Angeles Rams, the Saints will leave the Central Time zone six times over the course of the season. The Black and Gold will play in the Eastern Time Zone four times (Week 3 at Carolina, Week 9 at Buffalo, Week 14 at Atlanta and Week 17 at Tampa Bay), Greenwich Mean Time once (Week 4 at Dolphins with an 8:30 a.m. CT kick) and the Pacific Time Zone once (Week 12 at Los Angeles Rams).

For the fourth straight year, a select number of games will be "cross-flexed," moving between FOX and CBS to bring potentially under-distributed games to wider audiences. Some of those contests were announced tonight throughout the league, while the remainder of "cross-flexed" games will be decided during the season.

"Flexible Scheduling will be used in Weeks 5-15 and in Week 17. In Weeks 10-15, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. A flexible scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game for the Weeks 5-15 contests. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17, but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot. Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives "surprise" teams a chance to play their way into prime time contests.


(All times CENTRAL)

Date                         Opponent                                                                      Kickoff                      

Aug. 10                    at Cleveland Browns                                                          7:00 p.m.          FOX 8/Raycom Media

Wk. 2 (Date TBD)   at Los Angeles Chargers                                                TBD                 FOX 8/Raycom Media

Aug. 26                   HOUSTON TEXANS                                                       7:00 p.m.        FOX 8/Raycom Media

Aug. 31                   BALTIMORE RAVENS                                                   7:00 p.m.          FOX 8/Raycom Media


(All times CENTRAL)

Date                      Opponent                                                                        Kickoff                       

Sept. 11                at Minnesota Vikings (Monday)                                     6:10 p.m.                           ESPN

Sept. 17                NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS                                                  Noon                                      CBS

Sept. 24                at Carolina Panthers                                                              Noon                                  FOX

Oct. 1                    at Miami Dolphins (London)                                               8:30 a.m.                               FOX

Oct. 8                    BYE

Oct. 15                  DETROIT LIONS                                                       Noon                                 FOX

Oct. 22                  at Green Bay Packers                                                       Noon                                 FOX

Oct. 29                  CHICAGO BEARS                                                               Noon                                 FOX

Nov. 5                   TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS                                                   Noon                                   FOX

Nov. 12                 at Buffalo Bills                                                                          Noon                                 FOX

Nov. 19                 WASHINGTON REDSKINS                                                    Noon                                     FOX

Nov. 26                 at Los Angeles Rams                                                               3:05 p.m.                             FOX

Dec. 3                    CAROLINA PANTHERS                                                           Noon                                  FOX

Dec. 7                    at Atlanta Falcons (Thursday)                                         7:25 p.m.          NBC/NFLN/Amazon

Dec. 17                  NEW YORK JETS                                                                NOON                                CBS

Dec. 24                 ATLANTA FALCONS                                                                  Noon                                    FOX

Dec. 31                 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers                                                Noon                                  FOX

A look at the Saints' 2017 opponents, and dates:

at Minnesota Vikings (September 11): Minnesota has an 18-10 edge in the regular season series and 2-1 in the postseason, but New Orleans has won the last four meetings between the Saints and Vikings, starting with a 31-28 win in the NFC Championship game on January 24, 2010…It will be the fourth time the Saints have opened their season against the Vikings, winning two of the first three, the last being a 14-9 victory in the 2010 NFL season opener at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on will be New Orleans' first visit to U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened in 2016…The contest will be the sixth time New Orleans has opened the season on prime time and the first since a 42-34 loss at Green Bay in 2011…It will be only the second time, the Saints have opened their season on Monday Night Football, the first a 13-12 loss to San Francisco in 1990 in the Superdome…The 2017 opener will be the 13th consecutive season the Saints are featured on Monday Night Football…U.S. Bank Stadium will be the first of three facilities that New Orleans will play at in 2017 where they are yet to play a contest under Head Coach Sean Payton's leadership (U.S. Bank Stadium, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium)….New Orleans has a 3-11 road record at Minnesota, but captured the last one, a 42-20 win on December 18, 2011.

vs. New England Patriots (September 17):  New Orleans' home opener will feature two of the NFL's most prolific quarterbacks in Drew Brees and Tom Brady…The two of them have combined for 127,693 career passing yards and 921 touchdown passes in their storied NFL careers…The Patriots lead the all-time series 9-4 and most recently got the best of the Saints in a contest between the two gunslingers at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. when they defeated New Orleans 30-27 on October 13, 2013, when Brady tossed a game-winning touchdown pass with five seconds left after Brees had given New Orleans their first lead of the game with a touchdown toss of his own with 3:29 left….New Orleans' 38-17 win over New England on Monday, November 30, 2009 to improve the Saints to 11-0 was their first home win over the Patriots in five tries…When facing a defending Super Bowl champion, the Saints have posted a 7-20 all-time record, 2-10 at home…2017 is the second consecutive season that the Saints will play host to the two Super Bowl teams from the previous year.

Carolina Panthers (at September 24, vs. December 5): The Panthers lead the series 24-20 with the two clubs splitting the season series for the third time in four seasons in 2016….The Saints are 10-12 all-time both home and away against the Panthers…In 2016, both contests were decided by three points, a 41-38 Saints win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 26 and a 23-20 Panthers win at Bank of America Stadium on November 17…The last four meetings between the Saints and Panthers have been decided by five points or less…The contests will also mark the opportunity for two of New Orleans' top 2017 free agent pickups, WR Ted Ginn Jr. and LB A.J. Klein to play against their former club.

at Miami Dolphins (October 1-Wembley Stadium): Although the Dolphins lead the all-time series 6-5, the Saints have won the last two meetings, including a 38-17 victory at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Monday, September 30, 2013…The Saints are 1-3 in road games in the series…This will be the second time that the Saints have played in London, having defeated the San Diego Chargers 37-32 on Oct. 26, 2008 in a home game for New Orleans…Dolphins Head Coach Adam Gase will be one of four head coaches Payton will face for the first time in 2016 (the other three are Buffalo's Sean McDermott, the Los Angeles Rams' Sean McVay and the New York Jets' Todd Bowles).

vs. Detroit Lions (October 15): The Saints will be seeking to break a three-game losing streak against the Lions in what will be the fourth consecutive season that New Orleans and Detroit face off...Detroit owns a 12-11-1 advantage in the series…The Saints have an 8-5 regular season home record against the Lions and also defeated Detroit 45-28 in the NFC Wild Card Playoff on January 7, 2012.

at Green Bay Packers (October 22): Green Bay owns a 16-8 advantage in the series, but the Saints have won three of four meetings since Sean Payton became head coach in 2006…New Orleans has a 2-10 road record against Green Bay, but only the last five games have been played at Lambeau Field, with the first seven at the Packers played at Milwaukee County Stadium…The last time the clubs met was October 26, 2014 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in a 44-23 Saints win where Brees passed for 311 yards and RB Mark Ingram rushed for 172 yards…The last meeting of the two teams at Lambeau Field occurred on September 30, 2012 with the Packers edging the Saints 28-27.

vs. Chicago Bears (October 29): The Saints will face the Bears for the 28th time in the regular season, with New Orleans leading the series 14-13…The Saints have won the last three meetings, as well as the last four contests played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome dating back to 1992…They have a 6-5 record at home against the Bears, 5-2 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome…Payton is a native of Naperville, Ill. and played quarterback for the Bears in 1987…Bears General Manager Ryan Pace worked for the Saints in several capacities from 2001-15, including serving as the club's director of player personnel his last three seasons.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. November 5, at December 31): New Orleans holds a 31-19 edge in the all-time series against the Buccaneers, the club's best winning percentage (.620) versus an NFL opponent that they have played more than six times…New Orleans is 17-11 all-time at home against Tampa Bay…The Saints are 14-8 all-time in games played at Tampa Bay…In 2016, the Saints and Buccaneers split the season series for the second consecutive season with each club winning their home contest…New Orleans will end their regular season on the road for the fourth consecutive campaign.

at Buffalo Bills (November 12): The Saints lead the all-time series 6-4, holding a four-game winning streak against the Bills…New Orleans has posted a 3-1 mark in contests played at Buffalo, winning the last three, including a 27-7 victory on September 27, 2009.

vs. Washington Redskins (November 19): The Redskins hold a 17-8 edge in the all-time series and Washington has captured the last two meetings…The Saints will be looking for their first win against the Redskins in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome since a 20-3 victory on November 23, 1992, holding a 3-9 all-time home record against Washington.

at Los Angeles Rams (November 26): The Rams lead the series 40-32, but New Orleans snapped a two-game losing streak in the series with a 49-21 win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 27, 2016…In that contest, Brees tossed for 310 yards and four touchdowns and Ingram rushed for 146 yards and one touchdown on only 10 carries…This will be the first time that the Saints have played the Rams in the Los Angeles area since a 31-15 win at Anaheim Stadium on December 4, 1994…It will be the first time they have played them at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum since a 29-14 Saints victory on September 16, 1979….New Orleans has a 16-21 record when playing at the Rams.

Atlanta Falcons (at December 7, vs. December 24): The matchups promise to provide plenty of offensive fireworks as the Saints and Falcons ranked first and second respectively in the NFL in net yards per game in 2016…It will be the 11th season in 13 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 50-45 regular-season advantage in the all-time series against the Saints, although New Orleans has won 15 of 22 meetings since 2006…The Saints have played the Falcons 95 times in the regular season, more than any other opponent…The Saints are 23-24 all-time against the Falcons at home….New Orleans is 22-26 all-time in games played at Atlanta.

vs. New York Jets (December 17): The series between the Saints and the Jets is tied 6-6 with New York having won the last meeting at MetLife Stadium on November 3, 2013, 26-20…New Orleans is 2-3 all-time against the Jets at home, including a 24-10 victory on October 4, 2009.

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