The New Orleans Saints announced Thursday, April 19 their 2018 regular season schedule, which kicks off at home Sept. 9 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and features five prime-time games. In addition to the Saints’ NFC South opponents, New Orleans will play each franchise in the NFC East and AFC North, with six teams that made the playoffs the previous season on the slate.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) April 20, 2018
The Saints will open their season at home, when they play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, Sept. 9 (noon. CT), marking the third opener between New Orleans and Tampa Bay, with the Saints winning the 2002 and 2008 openers. Following the season opener, the Saints will host the Cleveland Browns on Sept.16 (noon). It marks the first time since 2004 the team will open the season with consecutive home games.
After playing their first two games at home, the Saints will take to the road in Week 3 to face the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 23 and then will go up the east coast to face the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 30, a contest with a 3:25 p.m. CT kickoff. New Orleans will return home for a “Monday Night Football” contest against the Washington Redskins on Oct. 8 (7:15 p.m. CT). The club will then have its bye in Week 6 after having Week 5 byes in 2016 and 2017.
After the Week 6 bye, the Saints will move into a stretch where three of their next four games are on the road. The first road game consists of a Week 7 matchup at Baltimore on Oct. 21. The Saints will then travel to U.S. Bank Stadium to face the Minnesota Vikings on “Sunday Night Football” in Week 8 (7:20 p.m. CT), before hosting the Los Angeles Rams in Week 9 (Nov. 4) and traveling to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10 (Nov. 11).
In Week 11, New Orleans will host the Super Bowl LII champion Philadelphia Eagles in a noon Sunday contest at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (Nov. 18) followed by the franchise’s Thanksgiving home debut when they host the Falcons in a Thursday night contest (7:20 p.m. CT) which will be nationally televised on NBC. The Saints will then close out the month of November by playing on back-to-back Thursdays for the first time when they face the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Week 13 (Nov. 29, 7:20 p.m. CT). As a part of the NFL’s expanded “Thursday Night Football” package, the NFC South rivalry game will be broadcast nationally on FOX and the NFL Network.
The Saints will begin the month of December with a return to division play when they finish out the season series with the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium (Dec. 9). In Week 14, New Orleans will face the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on “Monday Night Football” (Dec. 17, 7:15 p.m. CT). This will close out the first three-game stretch of road contests for New Orleans since 2011.
Following the three consecutive road contests, the Saints will close out their regular season with two straight home games for the first time since 2011, as well. The Saints will host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 23 (3:25 p.m. CT). The Saints will close out the 2018 regular season with a Week 17 home contest at noon against Carolina (Dec. 30).
Ten of the Saints’ 16 games will be against teams that finished with a winning percentage of .500 or better in 2017, with games against six 2017 playoff clubs – Atlanta, Carolina, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. New Orleans will play each of its NFC South rivals twice, one game each against each of the NFC East and AFC North teams and will play the 2017 first place teams in the NFC North (at Minnesota) and NFC West (vs. Los Angeles Rams).
New Orleans’ eight regular season road games in 2018 will have the team travel only 13,734 miles (roundtrip) away from home after the team traveled a total of 24,004 miles (roundtrip) in 2017, including a trip to London (9,274 miles roundtrip). The longest trip will be the Week 4 trip to the New York Giants (2,632 miles roundtrip). In 2016, the Saints traveled 19,218 miles with the longest trip being a Week 9 contest at San Francisco (4,458 miles roundtrip).
Thanks to an away schedule that includes road contests at NFC South foes Carolina, Tampa Bay and Atlanta and at the Giants, Baltimore and Cincinnati, the Saints will leave the Central Time Zone six times over the course of the season to play in the Eastern Time Zone.