NFL New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints 2014 Schedule: 5 Games That Will Define Season

New Orleans Saints 2014 Schedule: 5 Games That Will Define Season

Sean Payton Rob Ryan New Orleans Saints
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints were a perfect eight for eight while playing inside the Superdome in the 2013 NFL season. Despite the team’s success in New Orleans, the Saints dropped five games on the road, serving as a living testament that there is, in fact, no place like home. Knowing the team’s woes on the road, coach Sean Payton should have these five games circled as ones that will define their season.

5. Atlanta Falcons - Week 1

Coach Mike Smith Atlanta Falcons
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

5. Atlanta Falcons - Week 1

Coach Mike Smith Atlanta Falcons
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Right off the bat, the Saints will be tested on the road in this division rivalry game against the Atlanta Falcons. Winning this game would build a great deal of confidence that they can win on the road. On the other hand, if the Saints lose their season opener to a team that won only four games the year before, be prepared for a long season of road struggles, just like last year.

4. Detroit Lions - Week 7

Calvin Johnson Matthew Stafford Detroit Lions
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

4. Detroit Lions - Week 7

Calvin Johnson Matthew Stafford Detroit Lions
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off their Week 6 bye, the Saints should be 5-0. Immediately after the bye, coach Payton will lead his team through the toughest five-game stretch of the season, starting with a Week 7 matchup against the Detroit Lions. This game may be the easiest of the group, but it’s first. In football, momentum is everything and with a big win in Detroit, the Saints could be running downhill as they head into the four toughest matchups of the season.

3. Green Bay Packers - Week 8

Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

3. Green Bay Packers - Week 8

Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

When Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are in the same game, everyone is in for a show. This Sunday Night matchup against the Green Bay Packers pits quite possibly, the two best offenses in the league against each other. Surprisingly, this game shouldn’t be as close as advertised and it will send shockwaves around the league that the Saints are for real.

4. San Francisco 49ers - Week 10

Patrick Willis Navorro Bowman San Francisco 49ers
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

4. San Francisco 49ers - Week 10

Patrick Willis Navorro Bowman San Francisco 49ers
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers are the second best team in the NFC West and maybe even in the NFC as a whole. This is a heavyweight matchup between two teams with the potential to make deep playoff runs. Knocking the 49ers on their back before taking a three week hiatus from the NFC to take on the AFC North should leave a bad taste in the top NFC teams’ mouths.

1. Carolina Panthers - Week 9

Cam Newton Carolina Panthers
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

1. Carolina Panthers - Week 9

Cam Newton Carolina Panthers
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

This is the Saints’ game of the year. Because the Carolina Panthers are their main competition in the NFC South and the two times they meet could determine who wins the division, this matchup in Charlotte, NC will dictate the course of their season. Last year, this was the only conference game the Saints lost, and had they won it, would have received a first-round bye instead of the Panthers. This year, the stakes could be the same.

Chris Lehman is a New Orleans Saints Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisBreezy91, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google