The 2021-22 NFL regular season in is the books, and only one game is left to determine who will be the 2021-22 NFL Super Bowl champion. Unfortunately for the New Orleans Saints, the season ended on January 9, 2022, and our eyes now turn to the 2022-23 NFL season.
The Saints’ opponents for next regular season as well as the games’ venues have now all been disclosed, with the only missing information being the dates and times of the games. So, we now know that the Saints’ 2022 home opponents will, as expected, include their division rivals (Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers). In addition, New Orleans will face the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens, Las Vegas Raiders and Minnesota Vikings. If you counted with me, yes, the Saints have nine home games in 2022. It remains to be seen which one of these games will be played on a neutral site (New Orleans is expected to play a game in England in the 2022 season).
As we are in this new 17-game format in the NFL regular season, the Saints will play eight games on the road in 2022, their three divisional opponents as is customary, plus the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles.
In this top 10, we will focus on the appeal of the matchup. With most NFL squads far from being finalized for 2022, it would be difficult to assess all individual matchups at this point. However, we look at factors such as: teams that the Saints do not play very often, or teams that have prominent players with ties to either the Saints or the state of Louisiana.
At Number 10 in our matchups countdown was the game between the Saints and the Cleveland Browns, which you can read about here.
At Number 9 in our matchups countdown was the game between the Saints and the Arizona Cardinals, which you can read about here.
At Number 8 in our matchups countdown was the game between the Saints and the Seattle Seahawks, which you can read about here.
At Number 7 in our matchups countdown was the game between the Saints and the San Francisco 49ers, which you can read about here.
Today we focus on:
Number 6: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Home)
The history between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is interesting: when Tampa won its first Super Bowl way back in the 2002 season, the Saints swept the regular season series. The same happened in 2020, when New Orleans once again blanked Tampa in the regular season, only to see the Bucs win in the divisional round of the playoffs and go on to win their franchise’s second ring. However, what made that 2020 Tampa Bay team so special was a certain future Hall of Fame quarterback called Tom Brady. Yes, the same quarterback who recently announced his retirement from professional football after 22 seasons in the NFL. So, when the Saints welcome the Bucs in the Caesars Superdome next season, it will hardly be the same Tampa Bay that won the NFC South this season, snapping a four-season division winning streak by New Orleans.
No, the Bucs will be without the straw that stirred their drink to the tune of a Super Bowl win and a division win in two years, for a franchise that had fallen to the bottom of the NFL ranks. New Orleans will be different as well, with head coach Sean Payton having announced his (temporary) retirement from coaching. So, the pillow fight is on. Tampa with a new QB not named Brady, the Saints with a new head coach and no proven QB. However, the venue is what makes this game very compelling.
Divisional games are always important, but divisional home-games are a must win for any NFL team that aspires to make the postseason. The Bucs were nouveau riches for two years and now will come to New Orleans a lot poorer than they’ve been in recent history. You can bet that Saints fans will delight in reminding Tampa Bay fans just how wrong they were to be acting all tough while Brady was in town. The time for reckoning has come for the Bucs, and New Orleans will want to hammer that point home when the two teams meet in the Superdome next season.
For the history buffs, the Saints have a decided 39-22 all-time series lead over the Bucs. New Orleans has the longest winning streak between the two teams (seven games between 2011 and 2014) and has won the last two meetings between the teams, as Saints swept the Bucs again in the 2021 regular season. Under Sean Payton, from 2006 to 2021, New Orleans enjoyed a 22-11 edge over Tampa Bay. The Bucs had the last laugh when it comes to playoffs encounters, with a win in the teams’ only meeting in the postseason, a 30-20 victory in the divisional round of the playoffs in 2020.
Bring on the pirates!
Which of these top 10 Saints 2022 matchup are you most looking forward to?
This poll is closed
10 - Cleveland Browns. Saints never beat them.
9 - Arizona Cardinals. Kyler Murray is fun to watch.
8 - Seattle Seahawks. Can we still get Russ?
7 - San Francisco 49ers. Just to hate on them.
6 - Tampa Bay Bucs. To laugh at how bad they will be without Brady.
Really looking forward to eating burgers during the Super Bowl.
Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, on Instagram @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel.