Skip to content

32 Teams in 32 Days: New Orleans Saints

Image result for brees and payton 2017

One last playoff push for Drew Brees?

The window of contention for a team generally lasts about five years, especially as young cores begin to demand top money. Although, if a franchise is lucky enough to have a Hall of Fame quarterback and top head coach, the window can be open as long as they are together. With QB Drew Brees and HC Sean Payton, the New Orleans Saints have made the playoffs five times and won a Super Bowl in 2009 while displaying some of the most prolific offenses in NFL history. While these achievements have been great, we’ve always wondered, how have the Saints only won one Super Bowl with arguably the most consistently great quarterback of all time?

While the offense has been great, the defense has ranked in the bottom third of the league giving Brees and the offense no margin for error. New Orleans needs to continue to bolster this defense and reduce the amount of shootouts they play in. After three straight 7-9 campaigns, can the Saints finally put it all together again and give their QB another shot at a ring? In a tough division and a tougher NFC, the path will be rigorous.


The Offense 

Drew Brees is a sure Hall of Fame QB and in my eyes, he is a top 5 signal caller of all time. At age 38, he is still a top 4 quarterback in the league and has thrown for 4000+ yards in 11 straight seasons. Brees has shown no signs of decline statistically and as long as Brady is dominating, why can’t he?

The offensive line looks to be improved as rookie Ryan Ramczyk slides in at left tackle and free agent addition Larry Warford comes in to play right guard. This unit has the potential to be a top end unit if the two newcomers gel with the rest of the line and perform to their potential. 

At running back, the Saints made a major splash signing Adrian Peterson to go along with starter Mark Ingram. I don’t love the fit for Peterson as he is primarily an inside runner with no catching ability in a pass-happy offense. Although, if he plays well then New Orleans will have one of the more effective running back tandems in the league. Behind the two are pass-catcher Travaris Cadet and rookie Alvin Kamara.

Losing Wide Receiver Brandin Cooks hurts the receiving core but the Saints have shown that a variety of receivers can flourish in Sean Payton’s system. New Orleans added wideout Ted Ginn from the Panthers to go along with Michael Thomas, Willie Snead, and Brandon Coleman. Thomas has the potential to be just as good as Cooks was heading into his second season. As far as the tight ends go, the only viable one they have is Coby Fleener although that is about all they need with the rest of the weapons at Brees’ disposal.


The Defense   

The defensive line is still a question mark as the only reliable player is DE Cameron Jordan who needs some help in order to turn the defense around. I do like last year’s first round pick Sheldon Rankins who has the potential to take some of the burden off of Jordan. If the two can play well, that is something to build off of.

The linebackers don’t get any better as Dannell Ellerbe is out with a foot injury and the famous Manti Te’o could be a starter this season. There are too many unproven players on this unit to think they will be even league average. This is a position that will need to be addressed immediately.

The secondary is very young but has by far the most potential on the entire defense. The team could end up starting first round cornerback Marshon Lattimore, second round safety Marcus Williams, and last year’s second round safety Vonn Bell. Potentially, this secondary can be very good but I’m not ready to say that just yet with the coaching staff’s inability to make players better.


Team Schedule and Season Outlook

Best Case Scenario: 10-6

Drew Brees has yet another spectacular statistical year and AP/Ingram bring a nice balance to the offense. The young secondary plays better than expected and makes up for some of the front seven’s deficiencies.

Worst Case Scenario: 6-10

This is clearly a team with a high floor and a lower ceiling due to the efficiency of the offense and the inefficiency of the defense. In the event that Brees takes a step back and the tough schedule takes its toll, the Saints could regress.

My Predictions

Week 1: @ Minnesota

Result: L (0-1)

Week 2: vs New England

Result: L (0-2)

Week 3: @ Carolina

Result: L (0-3)

Week 4: @ Miami

Result: W (1-3)

Week 5: BYE

Week 6: vs Detroit

Result: W (2-3)

Week 7: @ Green Bay

Result: L (2-4)

Week 8: vs Chicago

Result: W (3-4)

Week 9: vs Tampa Bay

Result: W (4-4)

Week 10: @ Buffalo

Result: L (4-5)

Week 11: vs Washington

Result: L (4-6)

Week 12: @ Los Angeles Rams

Result: L (4-7)

Week 13: vs Carolina

Result: W (5-7)

Week 14: @ Atlanta

Result: W (6-7)

Week 15: vs New York Jets

Result: W (7-7)

Week 16: vs Atlanta

Result: L (7-8)

Week 17: @ Tampa Bay

Result: L (7-9)

As a Bucs fan, I have learned my lesson to respect Drew Brees no matter what age he is. The Saints spoiled Tampa’s playoff hopes Week 16 of last season even when they had no shot at the playoffs. Divisional games in the NFC South are very hard to call which is why I have them splitting with everyone in the division. The schedule outside of the division doesn’t help as the Saints play good defenses on the road and top quarterbacks at home. I feel like every other fan having them at 7-9 for the fourth straight year even given their quarterback. Although, while their roster is decent, it is still the worst roster in the division playing a tough schedule that Brees cannot overcome. The rebuild of the defense looks encouraging and hopefully they can keep adding to it before Brees and Payton move on from New Orleans.         

%d bloggers like this: