Earlier this week, the NFL released the entire schedule of games for the 2013 preseason. As a service to you, the CSC readers, I have decided to help you catch preseason fever by studying the Saints matchups and providing a game-by-game look at the notable storylines I envision for them. Call it an early batch of HansDat's Hot Reads.
Week One: Kansas City Chiefs @ New Orleans Saints
In a preseason rematch of a 2012 regular season game we'd all be better off forgetting (PAINFUL LINK), new Chiefs head coach Andy Reid brings his new team to New Orleans to face off with a new defense and a new defensive coordinator for the Saints. We'll all be getting our much-anticipated first look at this new-look Saints defense. Backup quarterbacks for both teams will also be in the spotlight as Chase Daniel gets his first live action for the Chiefs in the place he played most of his preseason snaps for the Saints, and Saints fans will get to see Luke McCown and other camp arms try to fill the shoes of the departed Daniel. Just who will be doing the place holding on field goals and PATs for the Saints is another question that may be answered on this night. But the single-most important position I'll be watching is the left tackle for the Saints as the post-Bushrod era begins. It will also be nice to see Sean Payton back patrolling the Saints sideline.
Week Two: Oakland Raiders @ New Orleans Saints
This will be the second straight AFC West preseason rematch of a 2012 regular season game, and in it the Raiders bring with them new quarterback Matt Flynn and a familiar face at cornerback (Tracy Porter) while Saints fans get a second look at the new-look Saints defense. New Saints left tackle, I don't know your name yet, but I haven't forgotten about you, either, as you will still feel the penetrating glare of my intense scrutiny.
Week Three: New Orleans Saints @ Houston Texans
It's going to be shown LIVE!!! and nationwide!!!! on Fox at 4:00 PM Eastern on August 25, so that's something. And with it being the traditional "game most like a regular season game" of the preseason, that's kinda nice for us viewers outside the gulf south region. New Saints LT, I'm hoping you bring your "A" game, and that I might know your name by this time. I'll be taking a third and loooong look at the new-look Saints defense at this point, too, while trying not to allow too much hope/pessimism to creep in no matter what I've seen so far.
Week Four: New Orleans Saints @ Miami Dolphins
Don't get hurt and don't lose anyone important while traveling to and from this game, Saints. That's all I ask for. Even the announcers won't be able to make anything interesting of this snoozefest of backups and rookies wearing real NFL uniforms for perhaps the last time of the year. The Dolphins have overpaid for a slew of free agents, but none of them will even see the field. One thing to watch for will be a shot of Ryan Tannehill's hot wife in the stands/luxury box.
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There's my early peek at the storylines of interest for the Saints preseason journey. What are yours?