New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints announce preseason schedule

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) reacts after throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandin Cooks in the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) reacts after throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandin Cooks in the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman) AP

The New Orleans Saints announced their 2016 preseason opponents Thursday.

New Orleans will play their first two preseason contests on the road, following by two home games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. All four opponents reside in the AFC, with three of the clubs having reached the postseason in 2015 and two being crowned champions of their respective divisions.

To start their 2016 preseason slate, the Saints will travel to Foxborough, Mass. to play the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. The 2015 AFC East champions have a 7-4 lead in the preseason series with the Saints. In 2015, the Saints and Patriots staged dual practices at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia. The Saints then broke from their first phase of training camp to return to Louisiana and dropped a 26-24 decision on August 22 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on a late fourth quarter field goal.

New Orleans will travel to face the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium for their second preseason contest. The Saints and Texans have played each other every preseason since 2008 except for one, with the two clubs split at 4-4 in the preseason and at 2-2 in the regular season. New Orleans fell to the defending NFC South champions in both a preseason contest at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in 2015 and in a regular season matchup in Houston.

After playing their first two preseason contests on the road, New Orleans will then return to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for their final two, starting with a matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, in a contest featuring the second (New Orleans) and third-ranked (Pittsburgh) offenses in the NFL in 2015. The Steelers have an 8-3 lead in the preseason series, with this being the first exhibition between the two clubs since the 2007 Hall of Fame Game. The Saints last hosted the Steelers in the preseason in 1992.

The Saints will close out the preseason at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against the Baltimore Ravens prior to the final roster cutdown to 53 players. The Saints have been winless in three preseason contests against Ravens, including a 30-27 New Orleans loss in the preseason opener for both clubs on August 13.

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