2014 New Orleans Saints Season Preview and Schedule

The New Orleans Saints were a cat among the pigeons with their “Bountygate” scandal, but they found a way to persevere. The losing season in 2012 was followed up by an 11-5 campaign that included wins over teams like the 49ers and Panthers in the regular season, before falling to the eventual Super Bowl champion Seahawks in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs. Drew Brees returned to the elite status he had cultivated for himself amongst NFL quarterbacks, and the Saints defense ranked 10th in the league in points allowed.  The stage is set for New Orleans to take back its place at the throne of the NFC South in the 2014 season.

A familiar face in Lance Moore has been released after having only 37 receptions in 2013, his lowest total since 2009. Moore spent eight years in the Saints organization after being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Toledo. Kenny Stills looks to be the future Moore’s former position, with the 21-year old rookie hauling in 32 receptions for 641 yards and 10 TDs in 2013. The biggest signing of the off-season thus far is veteran cornerback Champ Bailey, who spent the last 10 seasons in Denver. The 35-year old made the league’s All-Decade team for 2000-09 and this will likely the last stop of his NFL career.

Sean Payton and Rob Ryan worked well together in 2013. (USA Today/Derick Hingle)

The Saints 2014 schedule is chalk full of interesting opponents, though we won’t know the dates until the April 22 release from the NFL. At home, New Orleans will host big non-divisional games against the Ravens, Bengals, Packers, and 49ers – who sported a combined record of 39-24-1 in 2013. The Saints beat the 49ers 23-20 in Week 11 last season with a field goal as time expired, so expect that one to come down to the wire once again. The last time New Orleans faced the Packers, Brees threw for 446 yards and 3 TDs in a 28-27 loss at Lambeau Field.

The road is a little friendlier, with the Saints traveling to cities like Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Dallas. New Orleans went 3-5 on the road in 2013, and had trouble getting the offense going outside of the Superdome. Expect Brees to not have the same problems against a historically-bad Cowboys secondary and a weak Lions defense, but Heinz Field in Pittsburgh is no walk in the park.

The NFC South will be an interesting race to follow, with most pundits not knowing what to expect from the Panthers and Falcons in 2014. Carolina came out of nowhere to win 12 games last season behind one of the NFL’s best defenses, but the offense was shaky at best. The Falcons were picked by many to make the Super Bowl in 2013 before injuries and a nose-dive in offensive production dropped Atlanta to a 4-12 record. A healthy Falcons team will be back this season, and wins over these division rivals are key for the Saints to get back into the playoffs and get the all-important home field advantage.

 

The Week in TicketCity Search – Saints Marching Up

TicketCity Week in Search

Week of
Sept 2nd
Previous
Week
Event
Searched
1 - New Orleans Saints
2 - Justin Timberlake
3 6 SF 49ers
4 - Pink
5 - TCU Football
6 5 Dallas Cowboys
7 - LSU Football
8 - US Open Tennis
9 - Chicago Bears
10 - Notre Dame Football

What a difference two weeks makes. Only two survivors and even more football. The latter isn’t especially surprising considering the season. Football season proper ushers in this week, after all. The Saints come out on top, with the 49ers moving up to third place, and the Cowboys landing in sixth place.

On the college side, the Horned Frogs of TCU come in fifth place, followed by LSU in seventh and Notre Dame in tenth. This may be the first time the Fighting Irish have shown up in a top 10. 2012 took them all the way to the BCS, and this year they’ll be looking to return for a win this time around.

It’s not all pigskin this week. Justin Timberlake manages to secure the second spot, and Pink returns to grab the fourth spot. The US Open’s last full week grabs eight place. The championship rounds run through Monday and there are tickets still available.

With Pink back, why not welcome her with this week’s video selection? Here’s her last #1 single “Just Give Me a Reason”, featuring Nate Ruess. When not hanging with Pink, Nate fronts the band fun. When the band’s name is written at the end of a sentence, the period pulls double duty.

The Week in TicketCity Search – Swift Rush to the Top

TicketCity Week in Search

Week of
Apr. 22nd
Previous
Week
Event
Searched
1 - Rush
2 4 Taylor Swift
3 - The Lumineers
4 2 One Direction
5 3 Kentucky Oaks
6 - Bruno Mars
7 - Dallas Cowboys
8 - New Orleans Saints
9 - Carrie Underwood
10 8 Justin Bieber

At the risk of having my interneting privileges revoked, I won’t make any snarky comments about Rush, who landed at the top of the countdown this week. They’re on the Clockwork Angels Tour, which takes them through August with over 20 more dates. Taylor Swift reverses a downward slide and returns to the #2 spot.

The Lumineers make their countdown debut this week. The indie folk rockers have been raising their profile in the past year or so, and their self titled debut album has been certified Platinum. The group is quite busy for the next couple months, which is good for all the fans who’ll be seeing them all over the country. That includes the fans around Austin at tonight’s show in the shiny new Austin360 Amphitheater.

One Direction falls out of the top three, though that will likely be a brief inconvenience, and the Oaks slips a bit down to #5.

Bruno Mars returns this week after short but strong run earlier this year. His tour has yet to officially kick off, that’s not until June, so he may not have the momentum to hang around too long.

Finally, a little early NFL fever hits the countdown this week. With the official 2013 schedules out and the draft ongoing, it’s not too surprising fans are getting the urge to check out some games.

The Week in TicketCity Search – Third Place for Direction

TicketCity Week in Search

Week of
Aug. 20th
Previous
Week
Event
Searched
1 1 Longhorns Football
2 2 Mississippi State Football
3 3 One Direction
4 5 Arkansas Football
5 4 Dallas Cowboys
6 - Houston Texans
7 - New Orleans Saints
8 - Kevin Hart
9 7 Jason Aldean
10 - Oklahoma State Football

Another interesting line-up this week. The top five is almost completely unchanged, with one minor exception. Said exception is the Razorbacks and the Cowboys, who traded spots. The rest of the top 5 remains cozy in the same spots they’ve held for three weeks in a row, yet another rarity.

This week football forces out more concert performers. While I would have lost the bet that One Direction would stay on top the entire season, I would take the bet that they never leave the countdown completely between now and the 2013 tour. Even during bowls. Perhaps just as notable due to absence is the esteemed Mr. Bieber, who slipped pretty far out of the top 10 this week.

Team football brings three new entries in the bottom five, the Texans and Saints of the NFL, and Oklahoma State representing the collegiate side of things. Keeping things interesting we have comedian Kevin Hart, who’s been on tour for a while and looks to keep up the pace all the way through November.

The Week in TicketCity Search – January 6th

TicketCity Week in Search

Week of
Jan. 2nd
Previous
Week
Event
Searched
1 - Houston Texans
2 - Cotton Bowl
3 - New Orleans Saints
4 - Miami Heat
5 - Super Bowl
6 - BCS Bowl
7 - NY Giants
8 - Tool
9 - Red Hot Chili Peppers
10 - Coldplay

Starting off 2012 with a fresh list. A list that shows thoughts of football fans turning back to the pros as bowl season comes to a close. Not to say there’s not a little steam left in that engine. The Cotton Bowl makes a strong showing at #2 and the big rematch finds its way to #6.

The pros take the top spot, as the Texas make their debut appearance in the post season. Houston fans are lining up to see the Wildcard game against the Bengals on home turf in Reliant Stadium. Saints fans are little more accustomed to post-season play, but that doesn’t dampen their enthusiasm, pushing the team to #3 on the list. The big game itself makes it to #5, and Giants fans can be content with #7.

The NBA’s Heat check in #4 while the bottom of the countdown sees a tidy cluster of concert performers. Leading off the pack is Tool, on tour this winter with the possibility of a new album arriving this year. The Red Hot Chili Peppers return as do Coldplay, both seeing a lot of interest in their tours. It’s a little cold out there these days, so catching a concert inside a nice warm venue is a great way to keep warm.