The New Orleans Saints 2021 NFL season schedule has just been released and there are plenty of enticing marquee matchups. Once again, the Saints will host a Thanksgiving Day game, but this time the Buffalo Bills will come to town. Additionally, despite the retirement of quarterback Drew Brees, New Orleans has drawn five primetime games, two of which are fall on Thursdays in subsequent weeks. The intrigue of Jameis Winston possibly taking the helm of one of the most prominent teams in the NFL will have everyone watching. Here are some thoughts on each of the matchups this season, ranked from best to, well, last:
Week 1: Green Bay Packers
The Packers have been a formidable force over the course of the last decade and for the first time in 12 years the Packers could be without their talisman in Aaron Rodgers. With the retirement of Drew Brees, this matchup has all of the potential for storylines that the fans want for Week 1.
Week 12: Buffalo Bills
Buffalo was an incredibly powerful force in the NFL in 2020 and after a disappointing playoff exit at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs they will be on a revenge tour. New Orleans will have to play perhaps their best game of the season in order to topple the Bills, but they should have what it takes to be able to compete with one of the best teams in the NFL.
Week 7: Seattle Seahawks
After the Russell Wilson drama this past offseason it will be fun to watch the Saints travel to Lumen Field to show Wilson what he’s missing. As always, the Seahawks are a capable team, especially with Wilson leading the charge, but this should make for a primetime game.
Week 10: Tennessee Titans
The last time these two teams met, Saints wideout Michael Thomas broke the single season receptions record. But Derrick Henry missed that game, and the Saints remain the only team he hasn't played (except for his own Titans). Two dynamic teams should lead to a fantastic matchup that could have implications for both of them down the road.
Week 16: Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins have slowly been climbing their way back to relevancy and 2021 may be the season in which they complete the journey. They have added significant pieces to both sides of the ball and they believe in Tua Tagovailoa, however, New Orleans is well equipped to take on the Fins, and this could be a marquee matchup against two exciting teams.
Weeks 8 and 15: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The reigning Super Bowl champions have nearly their entire core returning with some additional reinforcements. The Saints have the talent to go toe-to-toe with Tampa, but questions at the quarterback position and the defense will have to be answered.
Week 13: Dallas Cowboys
Just like the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, so too does the talk of it “being the Cowboys’ year” commences every offseason. Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott will be back and the injured offensive line is set to be healthy. However, the Saints should have no fear about taking on the Matt McCarthy and Jerry Jones-led circus in 2021.
Week 3: New England Patriots
After a down season in 2020, the Patriots hit the free agency market hard and quickly, then drafted their future quarterback in Matt Jones. The Patriots, much like the Saints, have a lot of question marks surrounding their potential. This could be a thrilling matchup between two teams who have something to prove when they meet this season.
Week 5: Washington Football Team
The WFT is a dark horse this season to make some noise, not just in the NFC East, but in the entire conference. Washington boasts one of the best defenses in the NFL and it only got stronger this offseason. This matchup will be a massive test for the New Orleans offense likely led by Jameis Winston.
Week 14: New York Jets
New Orleans will get to take on both New York teams this season and the Jets could be an exciting team to play with rookie quarterback Zach Wilson at the helm. Regardless, they were the second worst team in football last season and a few additions will not skyrocket their expectations overnight. The Saints should win this matchup if they play up to their potential rather than play down to their opponent.
Week 4: New York Giants
With New Orleans having the privilege of playing the NFC East this season, they have a relatively weaker strength of schedule. However, the Giants have been improving over the course of the last few seasons and the most potent weapon in Saquan Barkley will be back. Needless to say, New York will not roll over the Saints.
Weeks 9 and 18: Atlanta Falcons
There is not much to say about this matchup that will occur at least twice in the 2021 season other than they still remain the hated arch rival that every Who Dat would love to see toasted every Sunday.
Week 11: Philadelphia Eagles
Rounding out the NFC East matchups in the Eagles. Too many questions remain about their quarterback, head coach, and defensive situation for anyone to feel too confident about making a judgement on this team one way or the other. Regardless, New Orleans should be in a great position to take advantage of this matchup.
Weeks 2 and 17: Carolina Panthers
The Panthers had a phenomenal 2021 NFl draft and the arrival of quarterback Sam Darnold has made Carolina an interesting team to keep an eye on this upcoming season. New Orleans will have to ensure they do not underestimate a potentially potent and revamped Panthers squad. [vertical-gallery id=45280]