2021 New Orleans Saints Schedule: Full Listing of Dates, Times and TV InfoMay 12, 2021
The New Orleans Saints had a mass exodus this offseason.
Most notably, Drew Brees retired, paving the way for Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston to compete for the starting job under center. But he wasn't the only one who left the franchise heading into 2021.
The Saints saw 13 key players move on. Among them are Emmanuel Sanders, who was released after tacking on 726 yards and five touchdowns on 61 receptions, and Janoris Jenkins, who had 55 tackles in 2020.
Incoming is defensive end Payton Turner, who was drafted with the No. 28 pick out of Houston, to headline a class of six picks.
Here's what the Saints will have to face as they move forward into a new era of New Orleans football:
Saints 2021 Schedule
According to the NFL's official ratings, the Saints have it pretty good in 2021.
The team has the sixth-easiest schedule in the NFL, with opponents posting a .471 winning percentage last season. Only five opponents had winning records in 2021—of course, they'll see the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers twice by virtue of playing together in the NFC South, while they'll get other divisional champions in the Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers.
The AFC East games have the potential to shake things up weather-wise, as the Saints will head to New England and New York (for the Jets, thankfully—the Bills come to Louisiana). They also could run into weather trouble against the Seattle Seahawks and the Philadelphia Eagles.
The weather report could determine the outcome on the road, but the Saints will get a second chance when they play three of their most difficult opponents at home. In addition to the Bills, the Packers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will travel to the Superdome.
The Saints didn't get the easiest draw when it came to the inter-conference matchups, with the AFC East tabbed as their competitors in 2021.
The Bills are poised for another strong year, while the Miami Dolphins should also be a threat since they've settled their quarterback situation, committing to Tua Tagovailoa. As for the other teams in that division, it's a toss-up.
The Patriots committed to Cam Newton but significantly bulked up the offense around him, giving him an opportunity to finish better than the 7-9 campaign he helped the team to last season, while the Jets moved on from Sam Darnold and elected to go with Brigham Young quarterback Zach Wilson at No. 2 overall.
Neither of those games can be considered automatic wins.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have won the Super Bowl, but the Saints had the edge in both of their regular-season meetings in 2020. Though the Bucs are returning all 22 Super Bowl starters in 2021—the first reigning champion to do so since 1977—the Saints are in position to make that a competitive game yet again, especially with conference standings on the line.