Oakland Raiders vs. New Orleans Saints
35-34 – Loss – September 11th 2016
Drew Brees and the Saints had a tough home opener against what would be one of the best teams in the AFC this season. The Saints’ defense struggled and star cornerback Delvin Breaux left the game early with a broken fibula. His presence was sorely missed as Derek Carr marched the Raiders’ offense down the field in a two-minute drill to finish the fourth quarter. After a defensive pass interference call on 4th down gave Carr another chance, he completed a pass to Seth Roberts for a ten-yard score. Jack Del Rio then rolled the dice as Carr threw a lob to Michael Crabtree for a two-point conversion with just 47 seconds on the clock. Brees was unable to do anything on the ensuing drive and the Raiders overcame a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Saints in their home opener.
New Orleans Saints (0-1) at New York Giants
13-16 – Loss – September 18th, 2016
New Orleans’ kick blocking troubles began on the road in New York. Drew Brees had an unconventional game and struggled to move the ball against a revamped Giant defense. Near the end of the first half, rookie kicker Wil Lutz had a field goal blocked that was returned for a Giants’ touchdown. The Saints’ defense actually held Eli Manning in check and the lone touchdown scored by New York was on special teams. Ex-Giant kicker Josh Brown connected on 3 of 4 field goals to propel the Giants ahead of the Saints in Week 2. What seemed like an easy game for the Saints turned into the first of many offensive struggles in winnable games.
Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints (0-2)
45 – 32 – Loss – September 26th, 2016
On the ten-year anniversary of the re-opening of the Superdome, the 0-2 Saints were hoping for some ‘Gleason magic’. Instead, they found a legit Falcons teams hungry for the chance to take over the NFC South. Matt Ryan proved that the Falcons’ offense was deeper than Julio Jones and completely annihilated a Saints’ secondary that was missing their two starting cornerbacks (P.J. Williams and Delvin Breaux). The score seemed closer than the actual contest and the Saints were surprised once again at their lack of a defensive presence. Injuries hindered defensive growth throughout training camp and they were exposed on multiple occasions on Monday night.
New Orleans Saints (0-3) at San Diego Chargers
35-34 – Win – October 2nd, 2016
The Saints had been in this same position two of the last three weeks and it seemed as if the Saints were going to give up another late score to drop 0 and 4. The Saints’ defense struggled like previous weeks but picked off Phillip Rivers late in the second half to secure the Saints’ victory. Although New Orleans struggled to run the ball, they were efficient in the red zone with three rushing touchdowns. Fullback John Kuhn scored two of his four total touchdowns on the season in the contest and Brees also passed for two touchdowns on the day. Brees’ homecoming to San Diego was not spoiled and it seemed as if their victory would propel them into the bye week.
Carolina Panthers (1-3) vs. New Orleans Saints
41-38 – Win – October 16th, 2016
After the bye week, the Saints looked to turn their season around in hopes of catching up with the Falcons for the division. Drew Brees and his offense did all they could to will a win away from the defending NFC champions, the Carolina Panthers. Brees threw 49 times for four touchdowns and eventually led the Saints into field goal position for rookie kicker Wil Lutz to kick a game-winning 51-yard field goal as time expired. The kick gave New Orleans a much-needed win after the bye week and gave Saints’ fans hope again headed to Kansas City.
New Orleans Saints (2-3) at Kansas City Chiefs
21-27 – Loss – October 23rd, 2016
The Saints traveled to Kansas City for another tough matchup with arguably the toughest division in football, the AFC West. New Orleans found themselves down 14 early but stormed back in Arrowhead to give the Chiefs a game. Down 3, the Saints found themselves in Kansas City territory late in the fourth quarter but a fumble by Mark Ingram on the seven-yard line derailed any hopes of a late comeback. Kansas City nailed another field goal to go up six on the ensuing drive and Brees had nothing left in the tank as the Saints dropped to 2-4 with another tough loss. The Saints had now lost two games on costly errors late in the game (Chiefs & Raiders).
Seattle Seahawks vs. New Orleans Saints (2-4)
25 – 20 – Win – October 30th, 2016
In what was a surprising outing for the Saints’ defense, New Orleans handled the struggling Seattle offense immaculately. New Orleans held Christine Michael to under 50 yards rushing and Russell Wilson was unable to throw the ball downfield for the majority of the game. New Orleans relied on their rookie kicker’s leg for most of the game, connecting on four field goals, including a 53 yarder. The Saints’ D held on the final drive of the game and stopped Wilson in the red zone as time expired. Moving to 3 – 4 with an easy matchup against the 49ers, the Saints’ season seemed to be looking up after a huge win in the Superdome.
New Orleans Saints (3-4) at San Francisco 49ers
41 – 23 – Win – November 6th, 2016
Headed into the second week where Sean Payton called the plays, the Saints’ offense finally clicked against a shaky 49er defense. New Orleans found their run game in week 9 and Ingram bounced back after two straight games with a fumble. He contributed 158 yards on the ground and found the end zone twice (1 receiving) to roll past San Francisco. The Saints’ secondary did allow Kaepernick to pass for 398 yards, a season high, but Brees and his offense answered on multiple occasions. With a balanced offensive attack, it looked as if the Saints were headed in the right direction going into the second half of the season.
Denver Broncos vs. New Orleans Saints (4-4)
25 – 23 – Loss – November 13th, 2016
If there was one game that was the epiphany of the Saints’ season it would be at home against Denver. In what was a must-win game for the Saints on the brink of another mediocre season, it seemed as if Brees had mustered up another late comeback. Inside of two minutes, Brees found his speedster receiver Brandin Cooks over the middle for a 32-yard touchdown grab to tie the game at 23. With a made PAT the Saints were to go up one but Denver’s special teams came up big, crushing New Orleans. The Broncos blocked the ensuing kick and returned it for 2 points to go up 25-23. The Saints failed to recover the onside kick and dropped to below .500 once again in a game that was the true tipping point of the season.
New Orleans Saints (4-5) at Carolina Panthers
23 – 20 – Loss – November 17th, 2016
The Saints, coming off a short week and a heartbreaking loss, could not match their offensive production from a week ago until late in the fourth quarter. For any Saints’ fan watching the game, it seemed as if Drew Brees simply ran out of time. Nonetheless, New Orleans dropped two in a row, which dimmed their playoff hopes even further. To make matters worse, Wil Lutz had another field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown. Although the return was called back, Cam Newton found Ted Ginn on the ensuing play to take a 20-point lead. New Orleans rattled off 17 unanswered but it was not enough to overcome another game that the Saints seemed to beat themselves in.
Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints (4-6)
21-49 – Win – November 27th, 2016
After 10 days of preparation and two losing two close games, the Saints played pissed off at home, completely annihilating their opponent. Ingram put together another stellar performance with 209 total yards on the day as Drew Brees one-upped his play with 310 yards passing and four total touchdowns. On a day that the Saints’ offense could not be stopped, the defense played equally as well in the second half, holding the Rams to only one touchdown in the second half. The Saints finally put together a full four quarters of play and showed the rest of the NFL that they had the potential to be a legit threat if they could manage to not beat themselves.
Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints (5-6)
28–13 – Loss – December 4th, 2016
With their playoff hopes on the line against a red-hot Detroit Lions team, the Saints failed to replicate their offensive performance against a much better Lions’ defense. Their first game in December was a letdown to fans as Matthew Stafford had his way with the Saints’ defense, a much too familiar scenario for the Saints’ organization the past few seasons. What was unpredictable was the play of future Hall of Famer Drew Brees. For the first time in 60 games, Brees did not throw a touchdown pass at home. However, he did throw three passes to the Lions defense, which led to a 28-13 loss at home.
New Orleans Saints (5-7) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
11–16 – Loss – December 11th, 2016
With a weak performance by the Saints’ offense, Brees looked to respond in a must-win game against division rival Tampa Bay. Instead, he ended up throwing three interceptions without racking up a touchdown pass. This was the first time in his career that Brees did so in back to back games. New Orleans could not block Tampa’s four-man rush for the majority of the game and paid dividends because of it. Brees somehow managed to put his team in a position to win the game late in the fourth quarter, but Cooks dropped what would have been the game-winning touchdown in the end zone. This loss guaranteed that the Saints would not reach a record above .500 for the third straight season.
New Orleans Saints (5-8) at Arizona Cardinals
48–41 – Win – December 18th, 2016
In a meaningless game at Arizona, Brees and his Saints put on a familiar showcase of offensive performance. After struggling for two straight weeks, Brees torched his opponent’s secondary and hooked up with speedster Brandin Cooks for 186 yards and two touchdowns. In a game that resulted in a shootout, Brees managed the clock beautifully and the defense held just enough to move the Saints’ in a position to knock off Tampa the following week. The defense struggled against the Cardinals’ run game but had confidence with key starters Sheldon Rankins and Dannell Ellerbe working back into the lineup.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints (6-8)
24–31 – Win – December 24th, 2016
Playing for their pride, the Saints came out in hopes of ending Winston’s chance at his first playoff appearance. On Christmas Eve, New Orleans did just that behind their veteran play caller. The Saints’ defense showed up this contest as Jairus Byrd played like his former self, picking off Winston twice; one interception came late in the second half as Winston tried to put his team in a position to overcome the deficit. The Saints found a way to win this closely contested game and once again left Saints’ fans wondering what could have been this season.
New Orleans Saints (7-8) at Atlanta Falcons
38–32 – Loss – January 1st, 2016
New Orleans came out flat and left well…flat. The scoreboard may have reflected a closer contest but the Falcons virtually won the game during the coin toss. Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offense scored 21 points in the first quarter and proved that they were worthy of a #2 seed in the NFC as they headed into the playoffs. In a contest that was irrelevant for the Saints’ season, it was clear that the Saints were playing with frustration from a depressing season. The Saints clearly had high expectations for the year but finished 7-9 for a third straight season. What do Cleveland fans say… there is always next year??
Division: 2-4 (3rd overall)
Offense Rank: 1st – yards, 2nd – points
Defense Rank: 27th – yards, 31st – points