Saints schedule preview: What 2022 games will get featured?

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Deonte Harty, Alvin Kamara
(Photo: Parker Waters)

Thursday night has become appointment television among football fans – the full reveal of the NFL schedule.

Annually, we’ve previewed what we think the schedule-makers will do with the Saints’ schedule – not necessarily the order, but how each game will be treated.

Is it buried in the noon Sunday slot with a bunch of other games? Is it a lead doubleheader game for either CBS or FOX at 3:25 p.m.? Is it in primetime on Thursday, Sunday or Monday?

After just missing the playoffs in 2021, another year removed from Drew Brees and now the departure of Sean Payton, does the NFL think less of the Saints as a must-watch team?

We already know one of the 17 destinations. The Saints will play a “home” game in London against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4, an 8:30 a.m. CDT kickoff. Get your brunch menu ready.

As for the rest of the schedule? Here’s our best guess on the most likely games to get the preferred treatment from the league. (For the record, our top seven picks last year were the seven games either in primetime or at 3:25.)

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (home) – You know the story here. Joe Burrow returns to the Dome for the first time since leading LSU to the national championship three seasons ago. It’s also a homecoming for Ja’Marr Chase, who not only helped the Tigers to the title, but graduated from Archbishop Rummel. This to me has the feel of a high-profile Monday night game. Two possible ideas – the opening Monday night, or Halloween, which falls on a Monday this year (there would be lots of orange and black).
  2. Los Angeles Rams (home) – The defending Super Bowl champs return to New Orleans for the first time since that infamous Sunday afternoon in January 2019. Think the Dome might be a little loud for this one? Maybe a Sunday night game later in the year but I think it’s more likely a lead doubleheader game at 3:25, as the last three regular-season meetings between these teams have been.

3-4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (home/away) – The Bucs finally ended the Saints’ streak of NFC South titles in 2021, and did I mention that Tom Brady is back? All four Saints-Bucs regular-season games since Brady moved to Tampa have been either prime-time or 3:25 kickoffs. Prediction: One game at 3:25, the other on Thursday night.

  1. San Francisco 49ers (away) – This one and the game at Arizona can’t be noon kickoffs because of the location. Is it enough to get the lead doubleheader treatment from the networks? San Francisco is certainly good enough to warrant it.
  2. Arizona Cardinals (away) – Ditto from the 49ers. This could be anything from primetime to a 3:05 game on the “singleheader” network. With the DeAndre Hopkins suspension, will be interesting to see if the NFL adjusts the Cardinals schedule to put some of the marquee games later in the season.
  3. Baltimore Ravens (home) – The NFL loves to feature its stars, and Lamar Jackson is still one of those. And for some reason, the NFL has put Saints games against AFC teams in primetime a disproportionate amount. When the Ravens last game to New Orleans in 2014, it was a Monday night game.
  4. Pittsburgh Steelers (away) – Over the years, this has gotten preferred treatment. Three of the last four meetings have been either primetime. These are certainly two passionate fan bases but also two franchises in transition.
  5. Philadelphia Eagles (away) – Saints head to Philly for a third consecutive season. Two years ago, this was a doubleheader game. Last year, it was at noon. Lean more towards the latter in 2022.
  6. Seattle Seahawks (home) – Like the Steelers, the Seahawks will be in transition this year with a new quarterback. With the AFC West and NFC West playing each other this year, there are more than usual late kickoffs built in for these teams, so this is most likely headed for a noon start, even though this was a Monday night game last year in Seattle.
  7. Las Vegas Raiders (home) – As with the Seahawks, the Raiders will already have their share of late kickoffs. While this was a Monday night game two seasons ago, this year seems more likely to kick at noon.
  8. Cleveland Browns (away) – One unsubstantiated report had this matchup headed to Thursday night, but history says this will be at noon.

13-14. Atlanta Falcons (home/away) – Once upon a time, one Saints-Falcons game was a lock for primetime – either on Monday or Thursday night. With Brees and Ryan gone, those days appear to be over. Seemingly the only way one of these games moves from noon is a possible Week 18 flex.

15-16. Carolina Panthers (home/away) – Like the Falcons, these two games seem destined to kick at noon.

The full schedule reveal happens at 7 p.m. Thursday on ESPN2 and NFL Network. The league’s 32 teams will announce their home opener a couple of hours before then. You can also bet on more than a few leaks during the day Thursday.

Happy schedule watching!

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Lenny Vangilder

Sales/Content/Production

Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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