Don Banks on the 2012 schedule
• Plenty of paranoid Saints fans out there are convinced the NFL office had it in for their heroes because of the bounty investigation. But if so, the NFL has a curious way of showing its antipathy via the Saints 2012 schedule.
Logic tells us New Orleans arguably would have it toughest earlier in the season, with interim head coach Joe Vitt being suspended for the team's opening six games, and any potential player suspensions likely falling in that time frame as well. Also, coping with regular-season life without suspended head coach Sean Payton figures to be more difficult at the start of the year, before the team adjusts to its new realities.
But New Orleans at least has a chance to catch its breath early on, playing only one 2011 playoff qualifier in its first six games of the year: a Week 4 trip to Green Bay. Other than that, the Saints face off against four teams that had losing records last year, plus one .500 club.
New Orleans opens at home against Washington, then plays at Carolina, home against Kansas City, at Green Bay, home against San Diego, takes a Week 6 bye, and travels to Tampa Bay. At worst, I could see the Saints being 3-3 in that span, but 4-2 or even 5-1 is entirely possible. And it's not as if the league office is trying to bury New Orleans and keep the Saints out of its showcase games either. Drew Brees and Co. will have four prime time games this season, in Weeks 5, 8, 9 and 13.
Saints or sinners, the NFL isn't out to get New Orleans. Otherwise someone in the league office missed a nice opportunity to deepen the price and pain of the bounty saga.
Read more: NFL puts Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos in early spotlight; more schedule reactions - Don Banks - SI.com
He very conveniently "forgot" to mention that with placing the bye on week 6, the league's schedule makers in effect lengthened both Vitt's and Loomis' suspensions with an additional week.
Also, they're doing the Saints no favors by handing them prime time games, because it'll be the TV channels and the league who'll reap the benefit of showcasing the explosive Saints' offense coupled with a powerful defense.
If anything, it shows that they're not against making some money of the Saints, while on the other side, they're content in hanging the scarlet letter around their necks - double standards in a way.
But I don't really care, I just can't believe they weren't aware of what they were doing in placing the Saints' bye week where they placed it. :brood:
NFL 'aint no fool. The Saints "In Primetime" = more money than most other teams. Check the recent ratings...
And they'll bring even more money this season.
I think we'll be fine. Defense has been the issue in recent years, but this new regime is all about SOUND FUNDAMENTALS and TACKLING. Say bye-bye to the 20+ deep plays per season we used to lose to. Check the stats.
I'm ready. Let's go kick some ass.
12-4 we win the South!
16-0 Goodell retires.
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