Saints Record in Primetime and Holiday Games During the Sean Payton Era

The NFL showed respect to the Saints by giving them five Prime-Time matchups despite the retirement of Drew Brees.  Given how New Orleans has performed in night-time or holiday games, the league may regret that decision.
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Despite the offseason retirement of future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, the NFL was respectful to the New Orleans Saints when they released the 2021 regular-season schedule. 

The Saints have five games in front of a primetime television audience, tied for most in the league. Their season-opening contest against the Green Bay Packers at home will also be the Fox Sports 'Game of the Week.'

New Orleans will play two games on a holiday. The Saints will be on the league's normal slate of games for Halloween, which falls on a Sunday. 

Also, for the third time in four years, New Orleans will also be the nightcap of a triple-header of Thanksgiving contests.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws an interception to New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Shy Tuttle (99). Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws an interception to New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Shy Tuttle (99). Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints are a winning team and good for ratings.  Sean Payton's teams have a league-best 49-15 record over the last four seasons, including four consecutive NFC South championships.

New Orleans is considered a small-market team, but the NFL recognizes the significant television ratings the Saints can generate.

A list of primetime or holiday opponents the New Orleans Saints will face in 2021.

  • Monday, October 25 - at Seattle Seahawks
  • Sunday, October 31 - vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Halloween)
  • Thursday, November 25 - vs. Buffalo Bills (Thanksgiving)
  • Thursday, December 2 - vs. Dallas Cowboys
  • Sunday, December 19 - at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Monday, December 27 - vs. Miami Dolphins
Alvin Kamara

Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) runs against the Minnesota Vikings in the second quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY 

Since head coach Sean Payton took over the franchise in 2006, the Saints have been one of the league's most dominant teams in front of a prime-time audience. 

In fourteen years of stalking the sideline for New Orleans, Payton's teams have a 143-81 regular-season record, a winning percentage of .638. 

When the lights go on, Payton's teams have a winning percentage of .667, a 36-18 record, on Thursday, Sunday, or Monday night matchups. 

Including an incredible 26-6 record at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome- considered one of the most challenging places to play. 

THURSDAY NIGHT

  • 6-6 overall 
  • (Home = 4-0; Away = 2-6)

SUNDAY NIGHT

  • 13-4 overall 
  • (Home = 10-1; Away = 3-3)

MONDAY NIGHT

  • 17-8 overall 
  • (Home = 12-5; Away = 5-3)
New Orleans Saints quarterbacks Taysom Hill (7) and Drew Brees (9) linebacker Demario Davis (56) defensive tackle Shy Tuttle (99) defensive back J.T. Gray (48) and defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) after a game against Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY 

New Orleans Saints quarterbacks Taysom Hill (7) and Drew Brees (9) linebacker Demario Davis (56) defensive tackle Shy Tuttle (99) defensive back J.T. Gray (48) and defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) after a game against Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY 

New Orleans also shines bright during holiday showdowns - to make matters worse for the rest of the league. On Halloween (October 30th and 31st), Thanksgiving, and Christmas (December 24, 25, or 26), the Saints have a perfect 11-0 record under Sean Payton. 

His teams are a combined 47-18 during games played at night or directly around a holiday, a winning percentage of .723.

Of course, this year's five games at night and Halloween contest will not guarantee a New Orleans victory. 

However, history tells us the Saints will bring their ‘‘A-game,'' especially when the rest of the world is watching - something that might not have the rest of the NFL in a celebratory mood.