The NFL released the 2011 regular season schedule today. The New Orleans Saints are scheduled for 4 primetime games, including the Thursday season opener in Green Bay against the Packers. It marks the second straight year the Saints play in the NFL opener. Last year, New Orleans hosted the Vikings, defeating Minnesota 14-9. All games are tentative until the NFL lockout is lifted. The entire schedule of opponents, location, and kickoff times is listed below, with the home games listed in ALL CAPS.

WEEK 1: at Green Bay, Thursday Sept. 8, 7:30 p.m., NBC
WEEK 2: VS CHICAGO, Sunday Sept. 18, Noon, FOX
WEEK 3: VS HOUSTON, Sunday Sept. 25, Noon, CBS
WEEK 4: at Jacksonville, Sunday Oct. 2, Noon, FOX
WEEK 5: at Carolina, Sunday Oct. 9, Noon, FOX
WEEK 6: at Tampa Bay, Sunday Oct. 16, 3:15 p.m., FOX
WEEK 7: VS INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, Oct. 23, 7:20 p.m., NBC
WEEK 8: at St. Louis, Sunday Oct. 30, Noon, FOX
WEEK 9: VS TAMPA BAY, Sunday, Nov. 6, Noon, FOX
WEEK 10: at Atlanta, Sunday Nov. 13, Noon, FOX
WEEK 11: BYE
WEEK 12: VS N.Y. GIANTS, Monday Nov. 28, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
WEEK 13: VS DETROIT, Sunday Dec. 4, Noon, FOX
WEEK 14: at Tennessee, Sunday Dec. 11, Noon, FOX
WEEK 15: at Minnesota, Sunday Dec. 18, Noon, FOX
WEEK 16: VS ATLANTA, Monday Dec. 26, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
WEEK 17: VS CAROLINA, Sunday Jan. 1, Noon, FOX

I like the late bye week. A week 11 bye is the latest the Saints have ever had since the institution of the bye in 1990. Playing at Lambeau Field in September when the weather is still warm is also a plus. Aside from a December game in Nashville, the Saints avoided cold weather games. And Nashville in December isn't like Lambeau in December. I also like that the Saints are not scheduled for the NFL network at all. Lasty, playing the hated Atlanta Falcons on a Monday night the day after Christmas is fantastic! I can't think of a better way to enjoy the Holiday season than beating the Falcons on MNF again!