METAIRIE, La. (AP) — The New Orleans Saints will open the NFL regular season at home against Atlanta, and their schedule includes four night games.
The schedule, released by the league on Thursday night, features a Monday night home game against Miami on Sept. 30 and a Sunday night home game against Dallas on Nov. 10. New Orleans travels to Atlanta for a Thursday night game Nov. 21 and to Seattle for a Monday night game Dec. 2. The opener against the Falcons will have a noon (local time) kickoff on Sept. 8.
The Saints' schedule also includes a visit to New England on Oct. 13 and a home game against defending NFC champions San Francisco on Nov. 17.
New Orleans went 7-9 in 2012. Now coach Sean Payton, suspended last season in the NFL's bounty probe, aims to get New Orleans back to the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons.
In addition to games against San Francisco and 2012-13 playoff participant Seattle, the Saints play the two other teams from the NFC West when they host Arizona Sept. 22 and travel to St. Louis Dec. 15.
"I look right away at the West Coast trips, traveling and the prime-time spots," Payton said. "When you talk about the NFC West, certainly they are the most improved division in football over the last couple of years."
New Orleans will play NFC South foe Tampa Bay on the road Sept. 15 and at home Dec. 29, the latter being the regular season finale. The Saints don't meet their other NFC South opponent, Carolina, until the Panthers visit on Dec. 8. New Orleans then visits Carolina Dec. 22.
The rest of the schedule includes a visit to Chicago on Oct. 6, a home game against Buffalo on Oct. 27, and a road game against the New York Jets on Nov. 3.