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2024 Schedule Preview: Saints vs. Broncos

Sean Payton will make his return to the Superdome in 2024.

NFL: JAN 09 Saints at Falcons Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the 2023 season already over for the New Orleans Saints, we already know who the Saints opponents for the 2024 season will be.

Obviously, the Saints will face their three NFC South opponents twice, once at home and once on the road. We also know the Saints will play the entire NFC East as they faced all four opponents from the NFC North in 2023 and NFC West in 2022.

Since the Saints finished second in the NFC South this season, so they will face the second-place teams from the NFC North and West, the Green Bay Packers and the Los Angeles Rams. Since the addition of the 17th game, teams will play another out of conference opponent based on divisional standings, meaning the Saints will get a shot at the Las Vegas Raiders as well in 2024.

The final thing we know is that the Saints will face the entire AFC West next season. Two of those games on the road and two at home. Well, it just so happens that one of those teams has former Saints head coach, Sean Payton. It also just so happens that that team will travel to New Orleans in 2024.

Here’s the full list of Saints opponents for the 2024 season:

If you don’t get it by now or from reading the title, the team I’m referring to in the Denver Broncos.

Obviously, the big headline for this game will be Sean Payton’s return to the Superdome. Payton was the Saints head coach for 15 seasons and brought them their first Super Bowl Victory back in the 2009-2010 season.

It will make for a very interesting day. There are fans that will praise Payton for the success he brought to the Saints organization, but there will also be some mixed feelings with the way he left just to go to another team after one season of “retirement.”

There are a lot of question marks for the Broncos heading into next season. They finished the year 8-9 after starting 1-5, then they won five games in a row to get to 6-5, but then lost four of their last six games to end the season.

The final few weeks were tainted by the news of Russell Wilson’s benching. Apparently, the Broncos told Wilson he’d need to rework his deal, or he’d be benched for the remainder of the season with the latter eventually coming to fruition.

If Wilson isn’t the quarterback in 2024, the Broncos will likely hit the draft or free agency for their next signal caller. Jarrett Stidham replaced Wilson to end the year and actually finished the year quite nicely, throwing for 496 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in the final two games, but I don’t think Payton wants to hitch himself to Stidham for an entire season.

The Broncos also have quite a few players on expiring deals. Some guys, such as Wil Lutz, Josey Jewell, Fabian Moreau and Lloyd Cushenberry played a lot for them in 2023 while some of the others didn’t make much of an impact. The Broncos are projected to be 26.5 million dollars above the salary cap, so they should be able to retain some of those guys while also bringing in a few free agents.

On the Saints side of things, they are more than likely running it back with Head Coach Dennis Allen despite all the controversy surrounding Allen. His players went behind his back to score a last second touchdown to go up 48-17 against the Falcons, and instead of backing his players up, he threw them under the bus. His players responded by backing Jameis Winston on social media and in post-game interviews. If that doesn’t tell you he’s lost the locker room, I don’t know what does.

The Saints are also projected to be 76 million dollars over the cap in 2024. We know they can move money around to get back to even, but that doesn’t seem to be the smartest move with this team anymore. They have aging veterans and a lot of dead money to pay out, but they’ll likely triple down on Dennis Allen and try to run it back next year, even if it isn’t the right move.

The Saints have a long list of free agents hitting the market in 2024. That list includes Rashid Shaheed, Andrus Peat, Jameis Winston, Issac Yiadom, Lynn Bowden and many others. They’ll have a hard time finding the money to resign a lot of these guys, so there could be quite the turnover in the roster next season.

Overall, this should be quite the interesting game. Payton’s return, two middling teams trying to get back to Super Bowl contenders and some quarterback controversy should make this one of the most anticipated matchups for the Saints in 2024.

Can Dennis Allen beat his predecessor in his house? Or will Sean Payton remind Saints fans of the old days (not so old, but you get what I mean) when he ran the city of New Orleans alongside one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game?

We don’t know, but we’ll find out at some point next season.


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