Ranking every game on the Saints’ 2022 schedule, from easiest to toughest

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Now that the NFL has released the 2022 schedule, we can take a look from week to week and get a full scope on how difficult each game should be on paper. The New Orleans Saints have lucked out: their schedule ranks near the middle of the road in terms of difficulty, and a number of their toughest games are going to be at home in front of a friendly crowd.

There are some rough stretches this season, though, whether it be some tough games before a late-season bye week or a cold-weather road trip as the season winds down. Here is our ranking of how difficult we think each game will be, from easiest to toughest:

Week 15 vs. Atlanta Falcons

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Coming off of a bye week, at home against a weak roster. This should easily be the least-difficult game of the season for the Saints.

Week 18 vs. Carolina Panthers

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Last game of the season, there is a slight chance the Saints have to sit their starters. More likely though, the Saints will be fighting for playoff positioning and the Panthers will be trying to get as good of draft position as possible.

Week 1 at Atlanta Falcons

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The Falcons, lead by Marcus Mariota, are still pretty far from being a competent team. They drafted well overall, but it was a bunch of project players that need to improve before they make a meaningful impact. It being week 1 always leaves a threat for the Saints to stumble out of the gate, however.

Week 5 vs. Seattle Seahawks

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The Seahawks are in a complete rebuild and are not in a spot to really compete. They do have some fun pieces on the team, like D.K. Metcalf and Kenneth Walker III, but likely won’t be enough to be much of a threat.

Week 3 at Carolina Panthers

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Division games are hard to judge, but on paper neither the Panthers nor the Falcons are set to compete this season. Going to Carolina, it could be a crapshoot, but Sam Darnold doesn’t strike fear into anyone at this point.

Week 10 at Pittsburgh Steelers

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Likely relying on Kenny Pickett by this point of the season, the Steelers offense isn’t incredibly intimidating, especially with the potential of the Saints defense. Obviously being on the road adds some difficulty, but it doesn’t make it unwinnable.

Week 2 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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We are entering the easier part of the schedule for the Saints. Getting the Buccaneers early this season is lucky, as they will likely not have Godwin back by this point. They still will be good, but not nearly as tough as they will be later in the year.

Week 4 vs Minnesota Vikings (in London)

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Unfortunately the Saints lose out on a home game this year, as they are set to play against the Vikings in London. I don’t think the Vikings match up very well against the Saints, but having the game in London adds a deal of difficulty to the game without a doubt.

Week 16 at Cleveland Browns

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This is the first part of a two-game road trip where both games are going to be in cold weather. The Browns season is very odd, no clue who will be in play quarterback. They are a good team whether it’s Deshaun Watson or Baker Mayfield behind center.

Week 17 at Philadelphia Eagles

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While I don’t think the Eagles roster is incredible by any means, this is the second game on the road trip where both games are going to be in cold weather. The Saints also struggled against this offense last time they played, and they only added more talent since then. A.J. Brown was the largest addition they made, a smarter choice than adding yet another young talent to the room.

Week 13 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

AP Photo/Jason Behnken

By this point of the season, the Buccaneers should be healthy, but still we can never know exactly how hard these games will be. Tom Brady is still talented obviously, but Dennis Allen seems to have this team’s number. This should be the hardest game in the division by far.

Week 12 at San Francisco 49ers

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The 49ers are always a tough out for the Saints, but I’m not as high on them as I have been in the past. The defense is as advertised, but they can’t sustain with Garappolo for forever. Should they finally to Lance I think it’ll be a harder match-up. This being late in the season and in San Francisco will make this hard no matter what, though.

Week 8 vs. Las Vegas Raiders

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The Raiders were a good team that did nothing but get better this offseason. They brought in Davante Adams and Chandler Jones, adding stars on both sides of the ball. They can go as far as Derek Carr can take them.

Week 9 vs. Baltimore Ravens

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Similar to the Cardinals, Lamar Jackson is a hassle to bring down. The Ravens just don’t have the wide receiver options that the Cardinals do. The Ravens also bring a super talented and athletic defense that matches up well with the Saints offense.

Week 7 at Arizona Cardinals

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The Saints travel to Arizona just in time for Deandre Hopkins to come off of his suspension. Add in the dynamic of Kyler Murray, a quarterback prototype that the Saints seem to struggle with, and it will make for a tough game. The Cardinals should still have a good defense despite losing Chandler Jones to the Raiders.

Week 6 vs. Cincinnati Bengals

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Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase return to Louisiana and bring in droves of LSU fans to the Superdome and make this sort of a neutral site game, potentially. High powered offense and a potentially great defense will make for a difficult time for the Saints to keep up in this one.

Week 11 vs. Los Angeles Rams

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This is pretty self-explanatory, the Rams are the defending champions. They’re still definitely a Super Bowl contender after this offseason. It is also pretty late into the season without a bye week.

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