Wednesday Required Reading

Alright CSC faithful, check out these articles...

 This first one from the Times-Pic furthers the discussion of our newly released 2008 schedule. Basically they are complaining about the mid-season stretch in which the Saint's don't play at home.

The Saints already knew they would face an uphill battle this season when they were awarded a "home game" in London against the San Diego Chargers on Oct. 26.

By design, they will play at Carolina the week before, on Oct. 19, then travel overseas from there to get acclimated to the time-zone change. Also by design, they will have a bye week after the London trip in Week 9 to shake off the jet lag.

What's curious, though, is scheduled road trips to Atlanta and Kansas City in Weeks 10 and 11.

That means the Saints won't play a game in the Superdome between Oct. 12 (vs. Oakland in Week 6) and Nov. 24.

Alright, it's a pain in the ass, but so what. This is football. Not badminton. Why can't everyone look at it like Jon Stinchcomb...

"Obviously, playing two Monday night games and a London game, that keeps our schedule pretty eventful," Stinchcomb said. "It's almost an honor to get quirks in your schedule. If you only have Sunday noon games, that means you're probably not winning a lot, and nobody wants to see you, but it's something you have to mentally prepare for. It's not something you should be afraid of, but it's something you need to be aware of."

The other two games that stand out on the schedule are the home opener against the Bucs (sweet revenge!) and the game I think everyone is afraid of most, the week 15 game against the Bears. In Chicago. In December. At night. F@*& me!

The next article from the Times-Pic is just a game breakdown for each of our 16 games next season. I don't know where they got all this time, but I am posting it all on here so you don't have to click.

Week 1 and 13
vs. Tampa Bay on Sunday Sept. 7, noon
at Tampa Bay on Sunday Nov. 30, noon
Series history: Saints lead 19-13-0.

Last meetings: Bucs 27, Saints 23 (Dec. 2, 2007, at New Orleans); Bucs 31, Saints 14 (Sept. 16, 2007, at Tampa Bay).

Breakdown: The Saints open the season against the defending NFC South champion Bucs still smarting from a pair of defeats last year, including an especially gut-wrenching loss at the Superdome when Sean Payton's attempt at a trick play late in the game went horribly awry. The Bucs are led by Jeff Garcia, a quarterback who seems to play particularly well against New Orleans regardless of the uniform he's wearing. And don't forget wide receiver Joey Galloway, who annually piles up big stats against the Saints. The second meeting could determine the 2008 division champ.

Week 2
at Washington
Sunday Sept. 14, noon
Series history: Redskins lead 14-7-0.

Last meeting: Redskins 16, Saints 10 (Dec. 17, 2006, at New Orleans).

Breakdown: New Orleans will get the chance to usher in the Jim Zorn era at FedEx Field when the Redskins hold their home season-opener against the Saints. Washington was in the thick of the postseason race until the last week of the regular season in 2007, riding an emotional wave after the death of safety Sean Taylor. A new direction for the franchise will serve as Washington's motivation this season.

Week 3
at Denver
Sunday Sept. 21, 3:15 p.m.
Series history: Broncos lead 6-2-0.

Last meeting: Denver 34, Saints 13 (Nov. 21, 2004, at New Orleans)

Breakdown: Now that Coach Mike Shanahan has wrested total control of the franchise in the aftermath of the firing of General Manager Ted Sundquist, the Saints will make their first trip ever to Invesco Field to meet the Shanahan-shaped Broncos. On the field, third-year quarterback Jay Cutler will try to do business against what is expected to be a new-look Saints secondary.

Week 4
vs. San Francisco
Sunday Sept. 28 noon
Series history: 49ers lead 45-22-2.

Last meeting: Saints 31, 49ers 10 (Oct. 28, 2007, at San Francisco).

Breakdown: For the past two seasons the Saints have manhandled their former NFC West rival, with Reggie Bush having a big game against the Niners in his rookie season and quarterback Drew Brees exhibiting perhaps his finest performance of the season last year at San Francisco. The Saints will be trying to make it an unprecedented five straight wins over the Niners.

Week 5
vs. Minnesota
Monday Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m.
Series history: Vikings lead 17-7-0.

Last meeting: Vikings 33, Saints 16 (Sept. 25, 2005, at Minnesota).

Breakdown: Will New Orleans' run defense be able to slow down last season's Rookie of the Year, Adrian Peterson? Peterson and the Vikings' running game will provide a serious test one month in for the Saints, who are 2-1 in their past three Monday-night telecast appearances. But Minnesota historically is one of the Saints' toughest opponents, and the Vikings have won the past three meetings and six of the past seven.

Week 6
Sunday Oct. 12, noon
vs. Oakland
Series history: Raiders lead 5-4-1.

Last meeting: Saints 31, Raiders 26 (Oct. 24, 2004, at Oakland)

Breakdown: Another matchup against a team from the AFC West, the division all NFC South teams face this year in interconference play. Saints fans also likely will get the opportunity to see former LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell make his first appearance at the Superdome as a professional. With uncertainty surrounding Raiders Coach Lane Kiffin, Oakland might well have a new field boss by the time this game rolls around.

Weeks 7 and 17
vs. Carolina Sunday Oct. 19 at Carolina, noon
at Carolina Sunday Dec. 28 at New Orleans, noon
Series history: Panthers lead 14-12-0.

Last meetings: Saints 31, Panthers 6 (Nov. 25, 2007, at Carolina); Panthers 16, Saints 13 (Oct. 7, 2007, at New Orleans).

Breakdown: After the Panthers swept the Saints during New Orleans' magical 2006 season, the last one a gimme since Sean Payton rested his front-liners in a meaningless regular-season finale, this year Carolina might have quarterback Jake Delhomme back at full strength. Or not. Fans will definitely need a scorecard this time around. Carolina signed 15 unrestricted free agents so far this offseason, while newly signed Saints linebacker Dan Morgan, a former long-time Panther, will get a look at his old team from the other side of the line.

Week 8
vs. San Diego
at London, noon
Series history: Chargers lead 7-2-0.

Last meeting: Chargers 43, Saints 17 (Nov. 7, 2004, at San Diego).

Breakdown: While the Superdome crowd loses out on the opportunity to see Drew Brees go up against his former team, a national television audience has the chance to see if Brees can exact a measure of revenge from the team that unceremoniously cut him loose while injured two years ago, keeping Phillip Rivers. Last year's game in London's Wembley Stadium between the Giants and Dolphins was played in miserably rainy conditions, customary for the area. The Chargers' running game, led by LaDainian Tomlinson, could be the key in this one.

Weeks 10 and 14
vs. Atlanta on Sunday Nov. 9, noon
at Atlanta on Sunday Dec. 7, noon  
Series history: Falcons lead 42-32-0

Last meetings: Saints 34, Falcons 14 (Dec. 10, 2007, at Atlanta); Saints 22, Falcons 16 (Oct. 21, 2007, at New Orleans).

Breakdown: The Saints' longest-standing rivals have a new coach, Mike Smith, and the same uncertainty at quarterback in the absence of Michael Vick, serving a prison sentence for his role in a dogfighting ring. New Orleans has won four straight in the series, the second-longest streak in history against the Falcons. A season sweep this year would match the best winning streak ever against Atlanta. The Saints have played the Falcons more than any other opponent.

Week 11
at Kansas City
Sunday Nov. 16, noon
Series history: Tied at 4-4-0.

Last meeting: Saints 27, Chiefs 10 (Nov. 14, 2004, at New Orleans)

Breakdown: The Saints have been frequent visitors to Arrowhead Stadium for exhibition games recently, playing there in 2006 and 2007, but this will be the first time in more than a decade New Orleans plays a game that counts in Kansas City. The Saints have a 2-1 record against the Chiefs in games played in K.C. Historically, Arrowhead is one of the toughest stadiums in which to play on the road, and this Saints team really hasn't gotten a taste of that in the two practice games they've played in the recent past. This time the Saints will get to see quarterback Brodie Croyle for a full four quarters.

Week 12
vs. Green Bay
Monday Nov. 24, 7:30 p.m.
Series history: Packers lead 6-14-0.

Last meeting: Saints 37, Packers 27 (Sept. 17, 2006, at Green Bay).

Breakdown: A second home Monday night game late in the season and with comments made by the just retired Brett Favre saying he'd return to the Pack in an emergency, one has to wonder if Favre would return to the site of his Super Bowl championship if Aaron Rodgers stumbles early in the season. Likely not, but wouldn't that be an over-hyped scenario for ESPN? Packers Coach Mike McCarthy, who guided a young team to 13 wins last season, returns to the Superdome, where he was the Saints' offensive coordinator from 2000 to '04.

Week 15
at Chicago
Thursday Dec. 11, 7:15 p.m.
Series history: Bears lead 12-11-0.

Last meeting: Bears 33, Saints 25 (Dec. 30, 2007, at Chicago).

Breakdown: If it's wintertime and the wind is whipping off Lake Michigan, snow blowing here and there, then the Bears' opponent must be an indoor team from the Deep South. First the 2006 NFC championship game played in January 2007, then a return trip on Dec. 30, 2007, for the regular-season finale, now another likely frigid excursion to Soldier Field late in the year. And at night, no less, on national TV. Someone around here certainly irritated the schedule-maker. Will Rex Grossman still be the quarterback for the Bears? And will Illinois-native Pierre Thomas be carrying the load for the Saints in his second pro game in his home state?

Week 16
at Detroit
Sunday Dec. 21, noon
Series history: Lions lead 9-8-1.

Last meeting: Lions 13, Saints 12 (Dec. 24, 2005, at San Antonio).

Breakdown: Back-to-back tundra club jaunts for the black-and-gold, but at least this one will be inside. New Orleans makes its second trip to the Lions' new stadium, downtown Ford Field, having lost the first time around. In fact, the Saints have lost to the Lions the past three times the teams have played, including a game played at San Antonio's Alamodome at the end of 2005 while the Saints were in storm-induced exile. Anyone want to wager that Matt Millen, the Lions' president and CEO, won't be holding those jobs by the time this game is played? Or will Jon Kitna still be the quarterback?

Here is a list of every single prime-time game this season, organized by channel from Awful Announcing:

ESPN Monday Night Football

Monday, Sept. 8- Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers 7 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 15 - Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys 8:30 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 22- New York Jets at San Diego Chargers 8:30 p.m. ESPN
Monday, Sept. 29 - Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers 8:30 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 6 - Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints 8:30 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 13 - New York Giants at Cleveland Browns 8:30 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 20 - Denver Broncos at New England Patriots 8:30 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 27 - Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans 8:30 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 3 - Pittsburgh Steelers at Washington Redskins 8:30 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 10- San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals 8:30 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 17 - Cleveland Browns at Buffalo Bills 8:30 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 24 - Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints 8:30 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 1 - Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans 8:30 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 8 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers 8:30 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 15 - Cleveland Browns at Philadelphia Eagles 8:30 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 22 - Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears 8:30 p.m.

NBC Sunday Night Football

Thursday, Sept. 4- Washington Redskins at New York Giants 7 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 7 - Chicago Bears at Indianapolis Colts 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 14- Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns 8:15 p.m. NBC
Sunday, Sept. 21- Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 28 - Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 5 - Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 12 - New England Patriots at San Diego Chargers 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 19 - Seattle Seahawks at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 26- No Game
Sunday, Nov. 2 - New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 9 - New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 16 - Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 23 - Indianapolis Colts at San Diego Chargers 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 30 - Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 7 - New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 14- New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 21 - San Diego Chargers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 28- TBD

NFL Network Thursday Night Football

Thursday, Nov. 6- Denver Broncos at Cleveland Browns 8:15 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 13- New York Jets at New England Patriots 8:15 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 20- Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers 8:15 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 27- Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles 8:15 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 4- Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers 8:15 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 11- New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears 8:15 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 18- Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars 8:15 p.m

Just a reminder to any season ticket holders out there. Ticket Invoices are due this Friday, April 18th.

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