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Saints Now Prepare for Tougher Part of Their 2018 Schedule

While the New Orleans Saints are currently in the midst of their Bye Week following their 4th consecutive victory this past Monday Night, they won't have much time to enjoy their well-deserved time off.

That's because in spite of a (4-1) start to the season, New Orleans has now unofficially arrived at the tougher part of their 2018 Regular Season schedule, which will resume a week from this Sunday when the team travels to the East Coast to face the (3-2) Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Kickoff will be at 3:25 p.m. and the game will be regionally broadcast by CBS.

The game against Baltimore now begins an agonizing stretch of games for New Orleans, beginning with Baltimore and lasting all the way to their Season Finale at home in the Superdome against NFC South Division rival Carolina on December 30th.

First up is the Ravens, who are the ONLY TEAM that the Saints have never beaten since both head coach Sean Payton and QB Drew Brees each arrived before the 2006 season.

Photo courtesy of The Baltimore Sun

Because the Saints and Ravens meet just once every four years, Payton and Brees have faced Baltimore only 3 times since their arrival. They lost to them 34-27 in 2014 at the Superdome; they lost to them 30-24 at Baltimore in 2010; and they lost to them at the Superdome in 2006 by a score of 35-22.

So there’s a very good chance this will be the last time Drew Brees will face the Ravens, which means it might be his last shot ever to one day say that he was able to beat every single NFL team during his brilliant career.

As if that weren't bad enough, then there's the Week #8 contest on Sunday, October 28th (3 days before Halloween) which is when they travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota on NBC's Sunday Night Football; to face the (2-2-1) Vikings in the long-anticipated re-match from last season's heart-breaking last second loss in the Divisional Playoffs.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Clearly the Saints and the Vikings have an intriguing Playoff history together, and last season's untimely and unfortunate ending via the "Minneapolis Miracle", will make this game one of the most-talked about on the entire 2018 League schedule.

That's followed the week after by another long-awaited re-match, when the Saints host the visiting (and currently undefeated 5-0) Los Angeles Rams in a November 4th (Week #9) contest at the Superdome.

As of this moment, the Rams are considered THE BEST team overall in the entire NFL right now.

And with players such as veteran defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh alongside All-Pro DT Aaron Donald; and former Saints WR Brandin Cooks catching passes from talented gun-slinger and 3rd year veteran QB Jared Goff, New Orleans will be in a fight for their collective lives on that day.

Photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports

But that's not all.

The Saints then will play a Week #10 contest at Cincinnati, Ohio on November 11th; when they'll face the (4-1) Bengals; who currently lead the AFC North division.

The Bengals always play the Saints tough, or at least they have during the Sean Payton Era — having beaten New Orleans 2 out of 3 times (wins over the Saints in 2006 and 2014).

Then of course, there's the Week #11 contest on November 18th at home in the Superdome against the current defending World Champions — the (2-3) Philadelphia Eagles, who in spite of their early-season struggles and possible "Super Bowl hangover", will be looking to knock off the Saints nevertheless.

Then the schedule gets even more dicier from there for their remaining 6 games; which include a Thanksgiving Night game at home in the Superdome against the Falcons, and 2 out of their last 3 games against the Panthers.

Photo courtesy of The Charlotte Observer

But first thing's first, and that will begin in earnest a week from this Sunday at Baltimore.

The Saints are very fortunate to have a (4-1) record and to be leading the NFC South Division by a half game over (3-1) Carolina, given their somewhat shaky start to the season in their 48-40 season-opening loss to Tampa Bay.

But they have managed since that time to reel off 4 straight wins, even if it hasn't been done in the prettiest way, shape, or form.

And now the Saints will begin preparing for the tough part of what was considered a brutal 2018 NFL schedule — and one that's very unlikely to get any easier, between now and the end of the year....



Big Easy Magazine contributing writer and Saints News Network columnist Barry Hirstius is a 51-year old semi-retired journalist, former New Orleans-area sports editor, and writer previously with several sites that exclusively cover the New Orleans Saints football team. Additionally, he is a recurring guest on a variety of local Sports Talk Radio programs. Barry is also a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the team while attending games as a young boy at the old Tulane Stadium in the early 1970’s, originally following and now covering the team for a span of over 40 plus years. And perhaps most importantly of all: he is the Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity.....

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