The Saints, who have Payton back at the helm for the first time since his one-year suspension following the bounty scandal, will host the Kansas City Chiefs this evening.
The head coach told reporters: "I think just getting back to being out on the field at practice and having a chance to get back and coach a regular game. I think that part of it is exciting.
"[The fans] have been great. I think that they get excited about our team, especially the start of a season, after everything that went on a year ago. So there will be an excitement level. I know our players are excited to play.
"This is the time. All spring, you guys got tired of hearing me say, 'We have to wait until the pads come on.' The pads are on. This is the time for us to see what these guys can do when the lights go on and in a game setting."
The Saints will also face the Oakland Raiders, Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins ahead of the start of the 2013 season.