The 2021 schedule is out for the New Orleans Saints, and the hot takes are starting to drop. Here are my first four thoughts I had when looking at the 2021 schedule for the Saints:
That early bye is rough
A Week 6 bye under normal circumstances would be less than ideal, but in a 17-game season? Far from perfect.
The season is longer, and players will get beat up, banged up, and bruised more and more as the season progresses, so it will be asking a lot of this Saints team to play 11 straight weeks of football (or more, if they make the playoffs).
The mid-season gauntlet
Coming out of the bye, the Saints have the toughest stretch of their schedule from Week 7 to Week 13. During that stretch of seven games, the Saints face four playoff teams, including Tom Brady and the Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers.
The Saints start with a road game on Monday Night Football against Russell Wilson and the reigning NFC West Champion Seattle Seahawks, before hosting Tom Brady’s Bucs and the division rival Atlanta Falcons. In addition to the Falcons, the other non-playoff teams from 2020 during this stretch are no slouches. The Saints also face the Philadelphia Eagles (who beat the Saints last season) and the Dallas Cowboys, who expect to have Dak Prescott back at quarterback.
The Saints’ season will likely do or die from this stretch of seven games.
The Saints are still a draw
Even without a future Hall of Famer at quarterback in Drew Brees, the Saints were still given five primetime games (the same number as “America’s Team,” the Dallas Cowboys).
5 primetime games! ⚜ They hate us but, they gotta respect us!— Mr. Saintistic (@Spoon1822) May 13, 2021
Whether it’s because the NFL expects the Saints to still be competitive or the NFL higher-ups know that Saints fans will still watch their team even if they’re losing, five primetime games is a lot for a team with Jameis Winston as the starting quarterback. (For reference, the Buccaneers had just one primetime game in Jameis’s last season in Tampa).
The Saints are leaky
Were the Saints trying to trade up into the top 10 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft to grab a cornerback? Probably, but they weren’t able to do, due in no small part to this fact leaking earlier in the day before the first pick was on the clock.
Were the Saints trying to draft LSU wide receiver Terrace Marshall in the second round? Maybe, but they didn’t have a chance to because the Carolina Panthers heard this rumor and sniped the Saints one pick earlier.
It’s clear the Saints are starting to leak to the media more than we’ve seen in recent past, but the most egregious might be the entire 2021 schedule leaking hours before the announcement was official.
It’s hard to go about your business when everyone knows what your true motivations are. If the Saints want to find continued success, they’re going to need to be like Demario Davis in the run game and plug up those holes.