New Orleans Saints: Top 6 Games to Look Forward to in 2012
Football season is a little bit over a month away.
According to NFL.com, the Saints have the 11th-toughest schedule in 2012.
After a drama-filled offseason, during which the Saints lost their head coach and the leader of their defense for the entire upcoming season, nobody knows how the team will respond on the field.
A wild-card berth would be an amazing achievement after everything that has happened to this franchise.
These are the six most intriguing matchups of the 2012 season.
Sunday, Sept. 30, at Green Bay Packers
This early season match up features two of the last three Super Bowl champions.
The Saints typically do not perform well on the road in outdoor settings, but they play so early in the year that it shouldn't have much effect on the game.
This NFC matchup will have a video-game feel to it, as both offenses should have no problem scoring.
The Packers won last year's game which saw a total of 76 points scored.
Expect this year's game to be no different.
Points will be scored. A lot of points.
Sunday, Oct. 28, at Denver Broncos
Drew Brees vs. Peyton Manning: The Sequel
The last time these two faced off, the Lombardi Trophy was on the line, and Peyton Manning was wearing a different color blue.
Fast forward to 2012, the Broncos are coming off a remarkable overachieving season and now have one of the greatest players of all time under center.
Sure, there are questions about whether Peyton can perform like the old Peyton we all remember, but regardless if he is healthy, he is a top-10 quarterback.
Add to the mix New Orleans hero Tracy Porter, who now plays in Denver, alongside the very same guy whom he picked off to seal a Saints victory in Super Bowl XLIV.
To say this matchup is intriguing is a tremendous understatement.
Sunday, Nov. 25, San Francisco 49ers
This rematch of last year's NFC Divisional playoff game has the makings of a classic.
The Saints will be seeking revenge for getting eliminated from the playoffs; the 49ers will be out to prove that last year's 36-32 victory was no fluke.
It will feature two of the NFL's best tight ends in the Saints Jimmy Graham and the 49ers Vernon Davis.
The 49ers boast the game's best linebacker in Patrick Willis and one of the NFL's most promising young head coaches in Jim Harbaugh.
The Saints have the luxury of hosting the 49ers this time around and—trust me—Who Dat Nation does not forget.
The Superdome will be ready for this one.
Thursday, Nov. 29, at Atlanta Falcons
Just four days after a tough matchup with the 49ers, the Saints have to travel to Atlanta for the most important game of the season up to this point.
Anytime these two teams face off, you can almost guarantee a great game.
The Saints acquired former Falcons linebacker Curtis Lofton this offseason, and this will be his first game back in the place he once called home.
Lofton had a career-high 170 tackles last season, to go along with a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and two interceptions, one of which he ran back 26 yards for a touchdown.
The winner of this game will be in the driver's seat to win the NFC South.
Sunday, Dec. 9, at New York Giants
The Saints will take on the defending Super Bowl champions in what will be a chilly yet entertaining game.
This matchup will include an array of talent on both sides.
Excluding the two quarterbacks, whom we always talk about, the game will feature a bevy of electrifying players. For the Saints, you'll have the speedy Darren Sproles, the best tight end in the NFL, Jimmy Graham, and free safety Malcolm Jenkins.
The Giants will feature salsa-dancing Victor Cruz, the athletic freak that is Jason Pierre Paul and the savvy veteran Ahmad Bradshaw—to name just a few.
The Saints blew out the Giants with a 49-24 win last season in the Superdome, so expect the Giants to have this one circled on their schedule.
Sunday, Dec. 30, Carolina Panthers
This NFC South clash is the last game of the regular season for the Saints.
Cam Newton is coming off an outstanding rookie campaign, and some are already saying the second-year quarterback is an early MVP front-runner.
This matchup may have playoff implications, with the loser probably sitting home during the postseason.
Two teams will come out of the NFC South.
The Saints have defeated the Panthers the last four times they have met to even the all-time series at 17 wins.
Since 1995, New Orleans and Carolina have split the season series nine times, and one of the two teams has swept the season series on eight occasions.