Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Just got done applying for a passport to go to London for the Oct. 26 game between the Saints and Chargers, which made me think about the logistical issues this game creates for the Saints.
Although the Saints are my pick to win the NFC South, they've got a particularly grueling stretch in the middle of their schedule, highlighted by the London trip. The Saints will go for almost six weeks without playing a game in the Superdome.
After an Oct. 12 home game with Oakland, the Saints go to Carolina, the London game, have their bye week and then play road games at Atlanta and Kansas City. Their next home game is Nov. 24 with Green Bay.
That's a long stretch and there's nothing the Saints can do about it, except try to make the most of it. The team is already planning a different approach to the London game than last year's participants -- the Giants and Dolphins, who tried to stay close to their regular schedule and went in only a few days early.
The Saints are going to spend the whole week in London. They're going to leave from Charlotte after their game with the Panthers and spend the week practicing in suburban London (the Chargers are taking a similar approach). That will allow players to get used to the time difference and the bye week on the back side of the trip will help avoid jet lag.
But packing up 53 players, a bunch of coaches and support staff for a week in a foreign country isn't easy. The London trip is a big part of the reason why the Saints will travel more miles than any NFC South team this season.
According to the NFL, the Saints will travel 23,956 miles for 11 games (two preseason games, eight regular-season road games and the London game, which is officially a home game).
That's nearly 7,000 miles more than Carolina, which will travel the second farthest of the division's teams with 17,310 miles. Atlanta will travel 16,330 miles and Tampa Bay 15,754 miles.