The 2009 NFL schedule is now finalized and has been released to the public. In what has been a subdued and quiet event during the off-season, now has its own show on the NFL network, along with full analysis for each team.
It's now time to mark your calenders and plan your road trips to support your favorite teams.
As for the teams to look for, I chose the New Orleans Saints to focus on. After finishing 8-8 last year the Saints (based on last year's opponents records) face the seventh toughest schedule in the league.
Sounds bad, doesn't it? It's actually not as bad as one would imagine. After reviewing the schedule, the Saints (who have been burned by late season cold weather games), have dodged that bullet this year, with the coldest weather team during the final stretch being Washington Redskins and the Carolina Panthers.
While the Saints face difficult teams, based on last year, a Saints fan cannot help but be happy with two facts.
1:) The Saints are not playing the Chicago Bears at the end of the season at Soldier Field.
2:) The Saints do not have a long stretch of games away from the advantage that is the Super Dome and the support of Saints fans.
The Saints also managed to pull three prime time games (two MNF and one NFLN Sat games) and four 4:00 Sunday games. This is more than any other team in the NFC South. Seems like the NFL likes watching Saints football.
While the new season has not even started and everyone is ranked the same, the question becomes, are the teams that were so good last year going to be as strong this year, and which teams that are bad will pull a huge turn around?
2009 New Orleans Saints Schedule:
1 Sun, Sept. 13 vs. Detroit Lions FOX 1 p.m.
2 Sun, Sept. 20 at Philadelphia Eagles FOX 1 p.m.
3 Sun, Sept. 27 at Buffalo Bills FOX 4:05 p.m.
4 Sun, Oct. 4 vs. New York Jets CBS 4:05 p.m.
6 Sun, Oct. 18 vs. New York Giants FOX 1 p.m.
7 Sun, Oct. 25 at Miami Dolphins FOX 4:15 p.m.
8 Mon, Nov. 2 vs. Atlanta Falcons ESPN 8:30 p.m.
9 Sun, Nov. 8 vs. Carolina Panthers FOX 4:05 p.m.
10 Sun, Nov. 15 at St. Louis Rams FOX 1 p.m.
11 Sun, Nov. 22 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers FOX 1 p.m.
12 Mon, Nov. 30 vs. New England Patriots ESPN 8:30 p.m.
13 Sun, Dec. 6 at Washington Redskins FOX 1 p.m.
14 Sun, Dec. 13 at Atlanta Falcons FOX 1 p.m.
15 Sat, Dec. 19 vs. Dallas Cowboys NFLN 8:20 p.m.
16 Sun, Dec. 27 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers FOX 1 p.m.
17 Sun, Jan. 3 at Carolina Panthers FOX 1 p.m.