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Marquee matchups, primetime games highlight Saints’ 2020 schedule

The New Orleans Saints will start the season against a new rival, play the first regular-season NFL game in Las Vegas, host the defending Super Bowl champs in a late-season showdown, and play on Christmas for the first time in franchise history in a schedule packed with marquee games announced by the NFL on Thursday.

The Saints’ season opener is Sunday, Sept. 13, in the Superdome against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It will be the first of two division meetings between quarterbacks Tom Brady and Drew Brees, the NFL’s top two in career passing yardage.

In Week 2, the Saints head west to play the relocated Raiders in the first regular-season NFL game ever played in Las Vegas. The Raiders open the season on the road at Carolina.

The Saints-Raiders game is on Monday, Sept. 21, and is also the first of three primetime games in a four-week span for New Orleans. The Saints host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football the following week, go to Detroit on Oct. 4, and then return to the Superdome to play the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football on Oct. 12.

The road game at Detroit is the only noon start for the Saints in the first six weeks of the season. Only five of their 16 games are currently scheduled to start at noon.

The Saints’ bye week is in Week 6, on Oct. 18.

Notable games on the back half of the schedule include home dates with last year’s Super Bowl participants San Francisco (Nov. 15) and Kansas City (Dec. 20), the Brees-Brady rematch in Tampa on Nov. 8 in another Sunday night game, and a playoff rematch with the Minnesota Vikings on Christmas Day.

The Vikings have eliminated the Saints from the playoffs in two of the last three seasons, including in overtime in 2019. The regular-season meeting in 2020 will mark the first time the Saints have ever played a game on Christmas Day. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. in the Superdome.

The regular season ends on Jan. 3 with a road trip to NFC South rival Carolina. The teams also play on Oct. 25, in what will be new Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s return to New Orleans.

Bridgewater spent the past two seasons as the backup QB and became a fan favorite last season when he went 5-0 while filling in for the injured Brees. He signed with the Panthers as a free agent during the offseason.

The NFL schedule, not to mention offseason activities and the preseason, has to be considered tentative given the current prohibition on large gatherings both nationally and in individual cities and states.

But Commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league is planning for a normal season, albeit while making contingency plans.

“The league and the clubs have been in contact with the relevant local, state and federal government authorities and will continue to do so,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

The preseason is scheduled to begin the week of Aug. 13, although exact dates and times of most games have not yet been set. The Saints’ preseason games include road trips to face the Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers, and home games against Houston and Miami.

The preseason game against the Steelers is scheduled for Aug. 23 and will be televised nationally on Fox. The game against the Rams will be the first in Los Angeles’ new SoFi Stadium.

2020 New Orleans Saints schedule
Preseason

Aug. 13-17…………at Los Angeles Rams
Aug. 23……………at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Aug. 27-30…………Houston
Sept. 3-4………….Miami

Regular season
Sept. 13…………Tampa Bay, 3:25 p.m. (Fox)
Sept. 21…………at Las Vegas, 7:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Sept. 27…………Green Bay, 7:20 p.m. (NBC)
Oct. 4…………..at Detroit, Noon (Fox)
Oct. 12………….L.A. Chargers, 7:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Oct. 18………….Open date
Oct. 25………….Carolina, Noon (Fox)
Nov. 1…………..at Chicago, 3:25 p.m. (Fox)
Nov. 8…………..at Tampa Bay, 7:20 p.m. (NBC)
Nov. 15………….San Francisco, 3:25 p.m. (Fox)
Nov. 22………….Atlanta, Noon (Fox)
Nov. 29………….at Denver, 3:05 p.m. (Fox)
Dec. 6…………..at Atlanta, Noon (Fox)
Dec. 13………….at Philadelphia, 3:25 p.m. (Fox)
Dec. 20………….Kansas City, 3:25 p.m. (CBS)
Dec. 25………….Minnesota, 3:30 p.m. (Fox/NFLN)
Jan. 3………….at Carolina, Noon (Fox)