The NFL has officially released the full schedule for the upcoming 2022 season. The New Orleans Saints front office and fans can now start planning travel and strategy for the season. Starting on September 11, the Saints will begin the 17-game season with divisional opponents. The season wraps up on the second weekend of January. The schedule brings many reactions as it always seems that the NFL makes the season as long as possible for the Saints. These are overreactions to the 2022 New Orleans Saints schedule.
Overreactions to Saints 2022 schedule
In week four, the Saints are forced to lose a home game for the second season in a row. Last year, a hurricane forced the Saints out of New Orleans. This year, the NFL gave one of the home games to the city of London. Waiting in London will be a team that has become a sort of rivalry for the Saints. The Minnesota Vikings will be the opponent in the United Kingdom. The Saints will be at a disadvantage due to the NFL’s scheduling though. In week three, the Saints are on the road at the Carolina Panthers and then immediately have to travel across the pond. Meanwhile, the Vikings have a home game. This puts the team at a disadvantage before the game even begins. All of these factors are surely coincidences, correct?
If that would be the only odd traveling for the Saints this season, then it might be okay. But late in the year, the Saints will play two straight games on different coasts in the United States. Week 12, the Saints have to travel to the west coast and face the San Francisco 49ers. The very next week, the Saints have to travel to the east coast and play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Literal cross-country trips. These kind of travel days can really weigh on a team. The NFL is tough enough without these kinds of scheduling issues. A week 14 bye week will be well earned, but this scheduling is brutal.
TBD games are ridiculous
The Saints have not one but two home games within a month that are not fully scheduled. The week 15 and 18 games against the Falcons and Panthers are to be played on either the Saturday or Sunday of those respective weeks. How are fans supposed to plan to travel if the games are not even set yet? The Panthers and Buccaneers do not have two unscheduled games. Both the Falcons and Saints have these kinds of games late in the season though. Flights, hotels, and everything for fans will have to be delayed or over-extended twice within a month. Not only that but both of these games are home games. So, Saints fans are once again being given a bad deal by the NFL. One game around the holidays or bowl games would be understandable. Two home games within four weeks seems like trend though, especially considering all the other scheduling issues this season. How many coincidences can be there really be for a single team’s schedule?
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Saints have to win four games before week six
Last year’s record is usually not indicative of a team’s success the following season. Year to year, teams can rise and wane. This does not mean that the Saints middle-year schedule is not incredibly difficult though. Between weeks six and 13, the Saints will face seven teams that made the playoffs last season. The only team the Saints face in this span who did not make the playoffs is the very dangerous, and rebuilt, Baltimore Ravens. During this span, the Saints have to face opponents such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It is of the utmost importance that the Saints go into this stretch with as many wins as possible.
Every game in the Saints first five are winnable. There are no easy games in the NFL but facing rebuilt teams early in the season usually helps. The Saints get to face the Falcons, Carolina Panthers, and Seattle Seahawks in the first five weeks. Two of these are true home games as well, including a game in week three against the Buccaneers. The Seahawks and Falcons will be looking to replace their pro bowl quarterbacks this season. This transition can be difficult for any team. As for the Vikings and Panthers, both will be trying to bounce back from a disappointing stretch run in 2021. With the way the schedule is lined up, the Saints almost need to go undefeated into week six. If the team can at least accumulate four wins in this stretch, grabbing a couple wins over the difficult middle portion of the schedule should help a Saints potential playoff push.