The Saints are entering what could be their last run at another Super Bowl with Drew Brees as their quarterback, and they have the roster to pull it off. The question is whether their 2020 schedule is too tough for New Orleans to earn the kind of prime playoff seed needed for a deep playoff push.
As for the divisional staples on the Saints’ schedule, their recent struggles are part of the reason New Orleans has been the king of the NFC South for the last three years. But the rival Falcons if healthy could challenge the Saints in 2020. The Panthers are a bit of a wild card with so much overhaul, but in theory, they could be a threat. And of course, the Buccaneers added the only active NFL quarterback whose career accomplishments are more impressive than those of Brees.
Outside of the division, the Saints’ 2020 schedule features plenty more worthy tests, though many of them come in the New Orleans-friendly confines of the Superdome. In short, if the Saints earn the top seed in the NFC playoffs — which based on the new postseason format is the only seed that earns a first-round bye — they will have earned it.
Here is a complete breakdown of the New Orleans Saints’ 2020 schedule, including dates and start times for all 16 games and our early prediction.
New Orleans Saints schedule 2020
- Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers
- Away: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Las Vegas Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles
(The Saints’ 2020 schedule will be released Thursday at 8 p.m. ET along with the complete NFL schedule.)
(For Canadian viewers, each game can be streamed on DAZN.)
Saints strength of schedule
Based on opponents’ win percentage from last season, the Saints’ 2020 schedule is relatively easy. New Orleans’ 2020 opponents went 125-130-1 with a .490 collective win percentage last season, which places the Saints at No. 24 in strength of schedule rankings.
Even though New Orleans won its division last year and draws a first-place schedule for 2020, it has the easiest schedule of all four NFC South teams.
Again, though, these strength of schedule rankings don’t account for offseason changes made league-wide in free agency and the 2020 NFL Draft. Some of the Saints’ opponents — like the Buccaneers, Chargers, Broncos and Eagles, for example — have strong chances to improve their records in 2020.
Toughest tests: In terms of road games, no matter the record of the opponents, contests in Chicago, Denver and Philadelphia should never be taken lightly. The crowd in Las Vegas’ new stadium isn’t expected to be an issue for visiting teams, but the Raiders will be fired up to host the Saints.
Biggest breaks: Yes, games against the Packers, Vikings, Chiefs, Chargers and 49ers are among the Saints’ toughest tests in 2020. But New Orleans draws all of those opponents at home, which is a massive relief. Of those teams, the Chargers are the only ones that didn’t reach the playoffs last year. On the flip side, of the Saints’ eight away opponents in 2020, only one (Eagles) made the postseason a year ago.
Bottom line: As long as New Orleans can win most of those tough matchups at home, they will have a good chance at a top playoff seed. Brees, though, will be put to the test in potential shootouts against Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz and Matthew Stafford, among others.
Record prediction: 10-6