The New Orleans Saints will now open their season at “home” vs. the Green Bay Packers somewhere other than New Orleans.
Instead, they will open against the Packers on Sept. 12 in Jacksonville, according to Jeff Duncan and Amie Just of NOLA.com.
Jacksonville’s TIAA Stadium is normally the home of the Jaguars, but they will be on the road for the NFL’s opening week, leaving their stadium empty. That gives the Saints a chance to move in. All of this, of course, is because New Orleans is still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida and the Saints need a place to play.
“There were no closer venues to New Orleans available that day, as Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Houston’s NRG Stadium both host NFL games,” Duncan and Law wrote. “AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, has a concert scheduled for later in that week and will need the building for setup that day.”
Stadiums in Carolina, Tennessee and Tampa were also all unavailable.
The Saints are entering the post-Drew Brees era, with Jameis Winston set to take over quarterback duties. (That could throw another wrinkle into the whole sports betting angle.)
While the game may be moved, the Saints will continue practicing in Texas next week. “The team has arranged to practice at TCU’s campus in Fort Worth in the lead up to the game against the Packers. The team practiced at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Monday and Tuesday,” Duncan and Law reported.