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Surveying the Saints schedule coming out of their bye week

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The Week 6 bye felt early for the New Orleans Saints when it was first announced, but the break may have come at just the right time. Eight different starters are working to return from injuries or suspensions over the next few weeks, which will bring enough salary cap relief for the Saints to be active buyers at the NFL trade deadline if they so choose.

And the schedule sets up well for the Saints moving forwards. Just half of their 12 remaining games are against teams with a winning record right now, including a pair of divisional matchups with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They’ve only played one of their six games with NFC South rivals so far. They’ll kick off half of those games at home in the Caesars Superdome, too.

So here’s how the Saints’ schedule shapes up for the rest of 2021:

Week 7 at Seattle Seahawks (2-3) on Oct. 25

Sep 22, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) rushes after a catch for a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Next game: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 8 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-1) on Oct. 31

Sep 13, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) under center against the New Orleans Saints during the first quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Next game: vs. Chicago Bears (Week 7)

Week 9 vs. Atlanta Falcons (2-3) on Nov. 7

Dec 24, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) is sacked by New Orleans Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata (93) and defensive end George Johnson (90) in the fourth quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints won, 23-13. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Next game: at Miami Dolphins (Week 7)

Week 10 at Tennessee Titans (3-2) on Nov. 14

Dec 15, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) takes the field prior to the game against the Houston Texans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Next game: vs. Buffalo Bills

Week 11 at Philadelphia Eagles (2-4) on Nov. 21

Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts, left, scrambles past New Orleans Saints’ Demario Davis during the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Next game: at Las Vegas Raiders (Week 7)

Week 12 vs. Buffalo Bills (4-1) on Nov. 25

Nov 22, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) and defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) and running back Alvin Kamara (41) and quarterback Drew Brees (9) and defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (98) are interviewed by Michelle Tafoya of NBC Sports in the after their game against the Atlanta Falcons on Thanksgiving at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Next game: at Tennessee Titans

Week 13 vs. Dallas Cowboys (4-1) on Dec. 2

Sep 29, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata (93) sacks Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) as defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (98) pressures during the fourth quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Next game: at New England Patriots

Week 14 at New York Jets (1-4) on Dec. 12

New York Jets defensive back Justin Hardee, center, celebrates after winning in overtime of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Next game: at New England Patriots (Week 7)

Week 15 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-1) on Dec. 19

TAMPA, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 08: Jameis Winston #2 of the New Orleans Saints stands on the field during the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 08, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Next game: vs. Chicago Bears

Week 16 vs. Miami Dolphins (1-4*) on Dec. 27

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) warms up before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Next game: vs. Atlanta Falcons (Week 7)

*Miami went into halftime up 13-10 over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Week 17 vs. Carolina Panthers (3-2) on Jan. 2

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold passes against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

Next game: vs. Minnesota Vikings

Week 18 at Atlanta Falcons (2-3)

Dec 6, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive players react after recovering a fumble against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Next game: at Miami Dolphins (Week 7)

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