The New Orleans Saints were forced to evacuate to the Dallas area before the start of the season due to Hurricane Ida.
That meant playing their Week 1 “home” game in Jacksonville and continuing to practice in Texas as they await a return home.
The next home game on the schedule comes in Week 4, and it appears the team will be returning to New Orleans for a true home opener.
Sean Payton said Saints plan to return to Dallas next week, then return to New Orleans after their Week 3 game at New England.
Payton said Saints plan to fly into New England early since it's a long trip.
— Mike Triplett (@MikeTriplett) September 17, 2021
While the Superdome escaped serious damage, there was just no way to host a game in the city or to expect players and coaches to operate with the damage and related power outages.
But a return in Week 4 is a great sign.
The Best Possible Start
Losing a home game and playing Week 1 in Jacksonville could have demoralized the team.
Instead, the Saints absolutely rolled over the Green Bay Packers and proved they can win anywhere.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 13, 2021
Any potential negatives were immediately turned into positives as the Saints now prepare for a road game against the Carolina Panthers.
Staying steady and focused has to do with the structure put in place by Sean Payton and the organization.
If anything, being away from home helped rally the team together.
It was almost like a second training camp as they had to head to a new city together.
On The Schedule
The Saints are in Carolina this weekend and have a road matchup with the New England Patriots in Week 3.
That puts them on track to return to New Orleans at the start of October and to host the New York Giants at the Superdome in Week 4.
The hope is that the area will have rebounded enough for the game to go off at full capacity.
Of course, not everyone will be back to normal so soon after such a storm.
But perhaps the Saints’ return can provide some sort of hope and peace to the area.
There is also a good chance the team can return home undefeated.
The Week 1 win over the Packers set the tone and established the Saints as a contender once again in 2021.
The key question now will be if Winston can keep up his solid play and avoid reverting back to his old turnover-prone ways.