Breaking Down The New Orleans Saints Schedule On How The Team Can Reach The NFL Playoffs This Season

The 2024-24 edition of the New Orleans Saints have a solid chance of making the playoffs, but it starts by winning in this conference.
Nov 5, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  Detailed view of the New Orleans Saints helmet on the
Nov 5, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Detailed view of the New Orleans Saints helmet on the / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
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The New Orleans Saints narrowly missed the playoffs in the 2023-24 regular season, finishing with a 9-8 record, just one game over .500. Despite their performance, a series of losses to NFC teams (especially the Packers and Vikings) prevented Dennis Allen's squad from securing a postseason spot. However, this near-miss is a promising sign for a potentially stronger 2024-25 season for the Saints — a prospect that the Who Dat Nation is eagerly anticipating.

Week 1 - Week 8 (Eight Games)

Saints Opponents (Week 1 - Week 8)

  • Week 1 (Sep. 8): vs. Panthers, noon (FOX)
  • Week 2 (Sep. 15): at Cowboys, noon (FOX)
  • Week 3 (Sep 22): vs. Eagles, noon (FOX)
  • Week 4 (Sep 29): at Falcons, noon (FOX)
  • Week 5 (Oct. 7): at Chiefs, Monday Night Football (ESPN)
  • Week 6 (Oct. 13): vs. Bucs, noon (FOX)
  • Week 7 (Oct. 17): vs. Broncos, 7:15 p.m., Thursday Night Football (Amazon)
  • Week 8 (Oct 27): at Chargers, 3:05 p.m. (FOX)
  • NFC Opponents:  5
  • AFC Opponents: 3
  • NFC South Opponents:  3

The Saints must have at least a 4-4 record through the season's first eight games, but the best-case scenario is a minimum of 5-3. The focus should be on claiming the NFC South title and having a winning record against NFC opponents.

My old chemistry professor would say, "Get As and Bs in your major courses. Employers care mostly if you excel in your field of study, not humanities courses." The same applies to New Orleans. Wins over your NFC opponents carry more weight by the end of the season than AFC teams. However, there's still the common opponent factor.

KEY OPPOSITION DURING THE STRETCH: New Orleans must defeat the Cowboys or find a win against the Eagles or Bucs to keep pace with the NFC title hopefuls.

  • Projected Wins (5):  Panthers, Cowboys, Falcons, Broncos, and Chargers (2 NFC South Wins, 3 NFC Wins)
  • Projected Losses (3):  Chiefs, Eagles, and Bucs (1 NFC South loss, 2 NFC losses)
  • Through The First 8: 5-3, 2-1 NFC South; Worst case: 4-4; but cannot lose twice in the NFC South.

Saints Opponents (Week 9 - Week 18)

  • Week 9 (Nov. 3): at Panthers, noon (CBS)
  • Week 10 (Nov. 10): vs. Falcons, noon (FOX)
  • Week 11 (Nov. 17): vs. Browns, noon (FOX)
  • Week 12 (Nov. 24): Bye Week
  • Week 13 (Dec. 1): vs. Rams, 3:05 (FOX)
  • Week 14 (Dec. 8): at Giants, noon (FOX)
  • Week 15 (Dec 15): vs. Commanders, noon (FOX)
  • Week 16 (Dec 23): at Packers, 7:15 p.m., Monday Night Football (ESPN)
  • Week 17 (Dec. 29): vs. Raiders, noon (FOX)
  • Week 18 (Jan. 5): at Bucs, TBA

Week 9 - Week 18 (Nine Games)

  • NFC Opponents:  7
  • AFC Opponents: 2
  • NFC South Opponents:  3

Seven NFC versus two AFC games will be challenging for New Orleans. If their record is 5-3 through the first eight, the Saints must have at least five wins in the final nine contests. Dropping four games would result in a 10-7 record, with either winning the division or earning an NFC Wild-Card berth.

KEY OPPOSITION DURING THE STRETCH: Defeating the Packers or Rams could tilt the advantage to the Saints if they maintain a 4-2 division record. Recall that is was the common games with the Bucs that were problematic for New Orleans.

  • Projected Wins (5):  Panthers, Giants, Commanders, Raiders, and Bucs (2 NFC South Wins, 4 NFC Wins)
  • Projected Losses (4):  Falcons, Browns, Rams, Packers (1 NFC South loss, 2 NFC losses)
  • Through The Final 9: 5-4, 2-1 NFC South 
  • NFC South Record: 4-2 with losses to the Bucs and Falcons. Would this be enough to win the division? Last season, New Orleans was 4-2, but the Bucs won, having a better win percentage in common games, serving as the tiebreaker.

New Orleans could afford a loss to the Raiders and drop to 4-5 (9-8 overall) but must hold its serve against the NFC opposition for any hopes of playing in the postseason. Having two straight 9-8 seasons with the Saints' talent on offense and defense would be disappointing and could be the catalyst for significant changes. Also, would the New Orleans Saints executives consider making coaching changes and personnel moves via trades or termination of contracts?

Based on the team's current contracts, projects the Saints to have a negative $84,806,467 salary cap space when the season ends. All-Pro running back Alvin Kamara would account for $29,077,000 of the cap number. Derek Carr ($51.46M), Marshon Lattimore ($31.4M), Ryan Ramczyk ($29.08M), Cam Jordan ($20.06M), Taysom Hill ($15.8M), and Demario Davis ($12.48M) cap numbers will influence whether the team can keep "kicking the can down the road" in terms of these large contracts.

Nevertheless, New Orleans could overcome one or two games to surprise the NFL by making the playoffs with double-digit victories in 2024-25. The defense is solid, and Derek Carr's connection with the offense showed improvement in the second half of 2023. As teams in the NFC continue to bolster their rosters, this year feels like a more than "pivotal season" for New Orleans as an organization.

Will the New Orleans Saints make the 2025 NFL Playoffs?

We shall see.

Kyle T. Mosley