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Saints’ 2011 Regular Season Opponents Announced

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

We know that right now we are focused on finishing THIS season as we head into the playoffs this coming weekend, but The New Orleans Saints’ 2011 regular season opponents have just been announced via NewOrleansSaints.com

  • Saints will face teams from AFC South and NFC North
  • The opponents for all 2011 regular-season games have been determined and a complete list of each team’s home and away matchups was issued today by the NFL.
  • Along with their home and away contests with the three other NFC South teams, the Saints will host the Bears, Lions, Giants, Texans and Colts. The Saints will travel to face the Packers, Vikings, Rams, Jaguars and Titans.
  • The scheduling formula implemented in 2002 with realignment guarantees that all teams play each other on a regular, rotating basis.  After the 2008 season, a decision was made to continue with the same rotation in 2011.
  • Under the formula, every team within a division plays 16 games as follows:
  1. *Home and away against its three division opponents (6 games).
  2. *The four teams from another division within its conference on a rotating three-year cycle (4 games).
  3. *The four teams from a division in the other conference on a rotating four-year cycle (4 games).
  4. *Two intraconference games based on the prior year’s standings (2 games).  These games match a first-place team against the first-place teams in the two same-conference divisions the team is not scheduled to play that season.  The second-place, third-place, and fourth-place teams in a conference are matched in the same way each year.
  • Beginning in 2010, a change was made to how teams are paired in the schedule rotation to ensure that teams playing the AFC and NFC West divisions would not be required to make two west coast trips (e.g. at San Francisco and at Seattle), while other teams in their division had none (e.g. at St. Louis and at Arizona).  The pairings of teams are listed in the 2010 NFL Record and Fact Book (pages 16-19, attached).
  • The official 2011 schedule, with playing dates and times, will be announced in the spring.
  • NFL Kickoff 2011 Weekend will begin on Thursday night, September 8, and the regular season will conclude on January 1.
  • Wild Card Weekend will be Saturday and Sunday, January 7-8; Divisional Playoff games on the weekend of January 14-15; and the AFC and NFC Championship Games on Sunday, January 22.
  • The 2012 Pro Bowl will be played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii on Sunday, January 29.
  • Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana will be played on Sunday, February 5.

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