The Saints are going to be racking up some airline miles this summer.
The team will open its preseason schedule with road games against the New England Patriots and Houston Texans. It will then conclude with home games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.
Exact times and dates have not been announced for the games.
The Saints have not announced their schedule for training camp, but it is again expected to be held at The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia for a third consecutive year.
The first two preseason games are being held on the road because the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is undergoing renovations that include the installation of new video boards.
The NFL typically announces the schedule for the regular season in late April.
New Orleans played its first preseason game on the road last season against the Ravens, which is a short proximity from the training camp site. Houston and New England will be much longer trips, though those clubs provide natural partners if New Orleans wishes to conduct joint practices during training camp.
New Orleans hosted New England for practices at The Greenbrier before playing a home game at the Superdome last summer. The teams also held joint sessions at Gillette Stadium before a 2012 preseason game.
The Saints also practiced with the Texans in 2008, 2009 and 2010. There were reports the teams would conduct joint sessions last season, but the plan never came together.
The practices between the Saints and Texans featured fights during both the 2009 and 2010 sessions.
During the regular season, the Saints will host Atlanta, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Los Angeles, Seattle, Detroit, Denver and Oakland.
They go on the road against Atlanta, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Arizona, San Francisco, the New York Giants, Kansas City and San Diego.
The preseason schedule sets up somewhat favorably for local fans who wish to attend the games because the starters typically play the most during the third contest.
That means the Saints defense will get tested against Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and a cast of receivers talented enough to put the New Orleans secondary to the test.
The other opponents should also provide a good barometer. The defense will get tested by Tom Brady and the Patriots offense and the New Orleans offense will go up against J.J. Watt and the Texans’ staunch defense for at least a couple of series.
The secondary will also have to account for talented Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins during that game.
It’s doubtful the Saints will see Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco at all because the fourth game usually only features the backups.
New England has a 7-4 lead in the preseason series against the Saints. The Patriots won last year’s game 26-24 at the Superdome.
The Saints have played the Texans in every preseason since 2008 except for one. The teams have a 4-4 preseason record against one another. Houston beat New Orleans last preseason.
This will be the first time the Saints have played Pittsburgh in the preseason since the 2007 Hall of Fame Game. The Steelers hold an 8-3 lead in the preseason series.
New Orleans closes out the preseason against Baltimore. The Ravens beat the Saints 30-27 last preseason.