Historically, the NFL has released the regular season schedule sometime in mid-April, shortly before the NFL Draft. However, with the Draft being bumped back two weeks and now taking place in May, some have wondered whether or not the schedule release would be similarly delayed. Apparently, that will not be the case. According to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, the league currently is aiming for the "normal target" of mid-April.
Usually, the schedule is released on a Tuesday night, which highlights April 15th and April 22nd as likely mid-April targets for the announcement.
The NFL's schedule release is always a big deal. Fans can start planning their fall weekends (and, in some cases, weddings and babies), and businesses can begin to plan any events related to (or around) the local team's schedule. And we at CSC get to start making our predictions on the Saints schedule, complete with analysis of whether three consecutive years of playing in Atlanta on a short week after facing the 49ers is enough food for the Goodell conspiracy theorists.
And here's one more cherry for the Goodell conpiracy pie: if the Saints play the Ravens before the Broncos play the Colts, Drew Brees gets first shot at being the second QB in history (after Brett Favre) to defeat all 32 teams. Will Peyton Manning get that opportunity first?
We already know which teams the Saints will play, but we're just waiting on the actual schedule. The order of games always matters, as momentum is a powerful tool for any team. But with the Saints facing the AFC North and NFC North this year, the timing of their six (of eight) outdoor away games could have even more of an impact on the team's success.
It won't be long before we can start hashing and rehashing the schedule, and making plans for parties at home and trips to away games. Even though the 256 regular-season matchups already are known, merely answering the "when" will become the top sports story of the day... with the NFL's release of a schedule for games 5+ months away eclipsing actual game action by the MLB, NBA, and NHL.
Greg Aiello also said there's currently no plan to release part of the schedule (e.g., the Thanksgiving games, the Week One primetime games); though it wouldn't be surprising if a teaser or two were release in the next couple of weeks.
2014 New Orleans Saints Schedule
In 2014, the New Orleans Saints will play each of their three NFC South opponents twice: once at home, and once on the road. Each NFC South team will play one game against each team in the NFC North and AFC North; two teams from each of those divisions will be played at home. Finally, the Saints will play the second-place teams from the NFC West (49ers) and NFC East (Cowboys).
|NFC South||NFC North||AFC North||NFC 2nd Place|
|Home||Falcons, Panthers, Buccaneers||Packers, Vikings||Ravens, Bengals||49ers|
|Away||Falcons, Panthers, Buccaneers||Bears, Lions||Browns, Steelers||Cowboys|
To revisit the projected 2014 Strength of Schedule, based on 2013 performances for every team in the NFL, click here.