The kickoff of the 2022 New Orleans Saints season begins with an excitement different than we’ve experienced in a very long time. This Saints team may not be the same Super Bowl favorite the franchise had been at the end of the Drew Brees/Sean Payton era, but that shouldn’t take away from the joy of finally seeing this team take the field for a season likely to be much better than people expect.
No longer are the Saints coming into a season expected to bring New Orleans its second Lombardi title. The Saints may need a few breaks, mainly good health, to get to Glendale next February for Super Bowl LVII, but they have as good a shot as any contender in the NFC this season. Their path to Glendale, AZ in February begins against Atlanta in Week 1.
A new age is here for New Orleans and its beloved Saints. Some may be clinging to the past, afraid of what lies ahead, while others take the leap of faith into the unknown, into a new and hopefully bright future. A new day is rising in New Orleans, and the future may be bright indeed.
All season and postseason, Wallace Delery of Canal Street Chronicles will be presenting you with each and every game on the NFL schedule along with my pick for each game. It’s been a long wait for this season to begin, so let's get started.
Thursday, September 8th - NFL Kickoff 2022
Bills at Rams
Buffalo came up on the losing end of the most exhilarating playoff game of the year. They have reloaded their roster and look to finally take the next big step,
avoiding Kansas City, the Super Bowl. Speaking of the Super Bowl, the Super Bowl LVI Champion Rams look to do what most reigning Super Bowl Champions do on banner night in the season kickoff... win. That’s just what they’ll do in this close contest. Los Angeles wins 32-26.
Sunday, September 11th - Early Games
Browns at Panthers
The “Baker Mayfield Bowl” kicks off the first Sunday of the 2022 NFL Season. Cleveland shunned Baker after “winning” the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, eventually trading him, with reluctance, quite some time later. Now, Carolina looks to find the answer at quarterback with another castaway they have traded for. Carolina may not be headed for many wins this season, but they will win one here. Carolina wins 21-16.
49ers at Bears
Two of the potentially promising young quarterbacks in the NFL face off in this one. There is a big difference between the two though; San Francisco’s Trey Lance has weapons to work with, while Chicago’s Justin Fields doesn't. That difference is more than enough to lead to a fairly easy win for San Francisco. San Francisco wins 28-17.
Steelers at Bengals
The Bengals were so close to the Lombardi Trophy in February that they could practically feel it on their fingertips. Their offensive line let them down in the end, and the Cincy front office did some major work to remedy that this season. Joe Burrow is poised to have a monster season under center. Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, the Steelers are starting Mitchell Trubisky under center. Yeah, good luck with that against Burrow. This is just a bad divisional matchup for Pittsburgh. This will be an average season for Pittsburgh, while it has the potential to be another great season for Cincy. The AFC got a LOT tougher this year, though, and the Bengals best shot at the title may have slipped past their fingertips. Cincinnati wins 33-10.
Eagles at Lions
Even after a good draft and lots of bravado from the coaching staff, the Lions are still the Lions, and they are going to need something better under center to really progress. Philadelphia, meanwhile, appears poised to take the NFC East this season, with a loaded roster and decent quarterback play. Philly take down Detroit in this one. Philadelphia wins 34-17.
Colts at Texans
The Deshaun Watson saga directly impacted the quarterback situation for both franchises in this matchup. Watson being traded out of Houston obviously impacts the Texans, but if not for Atlanta’s courting, and failure to acquire Watson, Matt Ryan would not have ended up in Indy. The Texans situation is a rebuild for the franchise, but Indy is in prime position to take a very winnable AFC South with a former NFL MVP under center. That road begins with a dominating win here. Indianapolis wins 31-6.
Patriots at Dolphins
Believe it or not, Miami has simply owned New England in recent years. They should be even better this year, as the Dolphins from office has flooded QB Tua Tagoviloa with weapons, making this a make-or-break season in Miami. The Dolphins keep their roll going against Bill Belichick and the Pats. Miami wins 24-17.
Ravens at Jets
The promise of a new quarterback and new coaching staff for the Jets hadn't looked very good a year ago, and they need it to work this year, or it may be back to the drawing board again. Baltimore should have little problem winning this one, even if Lamar Jackson decides not to go. Baltimore wins 24-14.
Jaguars at Commanders
Jacksonville is not only better because they have a Super Bowl winning coach at the helm, but simply because their head coach is not a complete clown show, as was the case last year. There is talent there in Jacksonville, especially with second-year starter Trevor Lawrence under center, now with a coach in Doug Pederson who can get the most out of him. On the other side, the newly-minted Commanders now have Carson Wentz under center. Looks like Pederson made the right move. Jacksonville wins 24-17.
Saints at Falcons
The Saints kickoff their 2022 campaign against the hated Falcons in Atlanta. There’s almost no better way to start the season than to beat your biggest division rival, and the Saints not only have the chance to do just that, but they will face all three division rivals in consecutive weeks to open the season. It all starts here though. Atlanta may be the weakest team in the NFC South on paper, but they will give the Saints everything they have on Sunday, no matter how little it is.
Matt Ryan, Cam Jordan’s personal tackling dummy, is gone from under center in Atlanta. In his place stands former second-overall pick turned journeyman backup, Marcus Mariota. As much as the Saints have had Matt Ryan’s number during his career, he also had some impressive games against the Black & Gold. Mariota, on the other hand, is more of an unknown commodity, and it is up to the dangerous Saints defense to get acquainted to the new Falcons starting QB.
There is zero doubt the Saints are the better team, but Atlanta will be emotionally prepared to make this the biggest game of their season. Atlanta’s “this is our Super Bowl” attitude against their rivals paired with Dennis Allen’s annual Week 1 defensive struggles will make this game closer than it has any business being. All that said, the Saints still leave Atlanta with the win. Saints win 28-24.
Sunday, September 11th - Late Games
Giants at Titans
This one isn't so much an expectation of the Giants being good this season, as it is an expectation of the Titans to drastically fall in the AFC, a season after being the conference’s #1 seed. It’s a rocky start for Tennessee. New York wins 20-17.
Chiefs at Cardinals
Kansas City was oh so close to their third-consecutive Super Bowl appearance back in February, and after some re-tooling in the offseason, they should be expected to be a conference powerhouse once again. Arizona has much to prove after their late season/postseason nosedive to end last season. The Super Bowl host has won the last two Super Bowls in their own stadium, but that trend ends this year in Arizona. Kansas City wins 26-17.
Raiders at Chargers - Game of the Week
These two bitter divisional rivals played arguably the best game of the season the last time they faced each other. This one will be another classic, and one hell of a way to start divisional play in the treacherous AFC West. This game will come down to the final possession. Los Angeles wins 29-27.
Packers at Vikings
Minnesota has a bounty of offensive weapons, Green Bay has none. Still, Aaron Rodgers somehow finds a way to win, while Kirk Cousins usually finds a way to do the opposite. Green Bay wins 34-22.
Sunday Night Football
Buccaneers at Cowboys
Tom Brady, without a competent offensive line, will be under duress early and often in this rematch of last year’s season opener. But knowing his team cannot start the season 0-2, Brady and the Bucs will work quick routes to get the ball out as fast as possible. This, along with Dallas doing Dallas things late in the game will be enough to secure victory for Tampa. The march toward Mike McCarthy’s impending unemployment starts right on schedule, with Sean Payton watching. Mickey Loomis will be watching as well. Tampa Bay wins 23-21.
Monday, September 12th - Monday Night Football
Broncos at Seahawks
This is the “Russell Wilson Bowl” and Wilson is the primary focus in this game. Denver is simply better from top to bottom and will prove it on the field. Seattle still has weapons for Geno Smith (and whichever QB takes snaps for Seattle this season) to work with, but they are outclassed here. Wilson wins his quick return to the Pacific Northwest. Denver wins 28-14.
That’s how I see it, tell us how you see Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season unfolding. Leave your comments and insight below. Finally, Saints football is back! WHO DAT!