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NFL New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints Schedule 2014: A Fairly Smooth Road to the Playoffs

drew brees sean payton saints

Derick E. Hingle- USA Today Sports

The 2014 NFL schedules were revealed to the public tonight and the New Orleans Saints are looking at a favorable road to the playoffs.

Saints 2014 Regular Season NFL Schedule:

Week 1: @ Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, September 7 at 1Pm Eastern

Week 2: @ Cleveland Browns, Sunday, September 14 at 1PM Eastern

Week 3: vs Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, September 21 at 1PM Eastern

Week 4: @ Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, September 28 at 8:30 PM Eastern

Week 5: vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday October 5 at 1PM Eastern

Week 6: BYE

Week 7: @ Detroit Lions, Sunday, October 19 at 1PM Eastern

Week 8: vs Green Bay Packers, Sunday, October 26 at 8:30PM Eastern

Week 9: @ Carolina Panthers, Thursday, October 30 at 8:25 PM Eastern

Week 10: vs San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, November 9 at 1PM Eastern

Week 11: vs Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, November 16 at 1PM Eastern

Week 12: vs  Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, November 24 at 8:30 PM Eastern

Week 13: @ Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, November 30 at 1PM Eastern

Week 14:  vs Carolina Panthers, Sunday, December 7 at 1PM Eastern

Week 15: @ Chicago Bears, Monday, December 15 at 8:30 PM Eastern

Week 16: vs Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, December 21 at 1PM Eastern

Week 17: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, December 28 at 1PM Eastern

First, let’s break down the division games. The New Orleans/Atlanta rivalry is at an all-time high. The Falcons’ performance last year blew everybody’s minds, but that can easily change this year. It will be a difficult task for the Saints to go into Atlanta Week 1 and defeat the Dirty Birds, but it can be done; no team is better against the Falcons than the Saints are.

The Panthers will be defending their division title and New Orleans has always had problems in Carolina. A 1-1 series split between the Saints and Panthers is likely. The Black and Gold should have no problem sweeping Tampa Bay.

The 49ers, Packers and Bengals are probably the toughest opponents, but all three games will be played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, where the Saints rarely fall short. However, San Francisco, Green Bay and Cincinnati will still be back-breakers.

Traveling to the wintry cities of Pittsburgh and Chicago later in the season could be a problem, but the Steelers’ performance as of late leaves me with no worries. The Bears on the other hand, look to be the toughest challenge for New Orleans on the road this upcoming season; a win in the Windy City would be crucial.

Cleveland and Minnesota should be automatic; the two teams are of no threat to Coach Sean Payton and his squad.  Baltimore at home could be elementary as well with its recent struggles, but John Harbaugh‘s crew is not a team to be underestimated.

The Saints and Cowboys are a hidden rivalry; New Orleans hates Dallas and vice versa. The Black and Gold destroyed Jason Garrett‘s team in 2013, but things could be different at Jerry’s World. However, the Saints still have the upper hand and should get the W in D-Town.

Finally, looking at the Detroit Lions, New Orleans is definitely the favorable team. The Saints always play well in domes…unless it’s in St. Louis. I’m just excited to see a matchup between Calvin Johnson and Saints shutdown cornerback, Keenan Lewis.

Overall, the New Orleans Saints’ schedule looks to be in their favor, especially on the road. Sean Payton, Rob Ryan and GM Mickey Loomis are in the process of building an army. Could this be the year the Lombardi Trophy returns to the Big Easy? The year is flying by and the new season will arrive in no time. The anticipation is real and the recent release of the schedules makes the wait that much more exciting. Next stop, the 2014 NFL Draft.

Andrew Schuster is a New Orleans Saints writer for Rant Sports.  Follow him @ShootsMcGavin on Twitter and like him on Facebook.