The New Orleans Saints final game was one of the most memorable finishes to a game in recent memory. After outperforming expectations by a large margin last season, they are now looked as one of the NFC favorites. Drew Bress and company have a small window as his age because a test against Father Time.
NFC SOUTH DIVISION WINNERS: +155 (Bovada)
NFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: +1000 (Bovada)
SUPER BOWL 53 CHAMPIONS: +1600 (Bovada)
Team Win Total: O/U 9.5 (Westgate)
Week 1 vs. Tampa Bay (-7) Week 9 vs. Los Angeles (Rams) (-2)
Week 2 vs. Cleveland (-10) Week 10 @ Cincinnati (-3)
Week 3 @ Atlanta (+3) Week 11 vs. Philadelphia (-2)
Week 4 @ New York (Giants) (-2.5) Week 12 vs. Atlanta (-3.5)
Week 5 vs Washington (-7.5) Week 13 @ Dallas (+1.5)
Week 6 BYE WEEK Week 14 @ Tampa Bay (-3)
Week 7 @ Baltimore (PK) Week 15 @ Carolina (+1)
Week 8 @ Minnesota (+4) Week 16 vs. Pittsburgh (-1)
Week 17 vs. Carolina (N/A)
The Saints could be sitting pretty going into the bye 4-1. This schedule has some favorable match-ups. Outside of the Vikings, they will host the Rams, Eagles, and Steelers at home. The schedule features six playoff opponents but luckily they line up with the home field advantage.
Key Team Additions and Subtractions
Additions – QB Tom Savage, RB Terrance West, WR Cameron Meredith, TE Benjamin Watson, T Jermon Bushrod, LB Demario Davis, CB Patrick Robinson, S Kurt Coleman
Subtractions – QB Chase Daniels, WR Willie Snead, T Senio Kelemete, S Kenny Vaccaro
Draft – DE Marcus Davenport, WR Tre’Quan Smith, T Rick Leanoard, DB Natrell Jamerson, CB Kamrin Moore, RB Boston Scott, and G Will Clapp
Drew Brees might be old but he is still a top five quarterback. Brees broke the single season completion percentage last year. He had the second best passer rating last year as well. Drew wasn’t so relied upon with a vastly improved run game. Look for him to dominate a few more seasons with the cast around him.
Even though Mark Ingram split carries with the versatile Offensive Rookie of the Year, Alvin Kamara, Ingram still bested his single season total rush yards with 1124. He will miss the first four games with a suspension and likely have Terrance West, Boston Scoot and Trey Edmunds sliding into his role. Sean Payton has already said he wont work Kamara more with Ingram’s suspension. Alvin can beat players in the passing game, hurdle your low leaning tackles or barrel over soft tackles. He will get his yards no doubt. Once Mark Ingram is back with fresh legs, WATCH OUT!
Michael Thomas dominated so much in his rookie year, New Orleans traded away Brandon Cooks. He dominated in season finishing sixth in yards and was virtually unstoppable in the Vikings playoff game. Behind him, the Saints signed Cameron Meredith and hope he returns to form from his injury. Tre’Quan Smith came out of Central Florida with over 1000 yards and a double digit touchdown total. He is long, athletic and fast, Smith should be a new favorite target for Brees. Veteran Ben Watson will be the tightend this season, hoping to beat Father Time as well.
Rookie Ryan Ramczyk looked like a reach last year in the draft, in hindsight, he dominated the right tackle spot. The staple Max Unger will be the leader of the group in front of Brees with long time starter Strief retiring. Larry Warford, Andrus Peat and Terron Armstead will round out the line this season. It should return to being one of the better lines in the league.
Cameron Jordan was a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year. He will be paired with freak athlete Marcus Davenport, who the Saints jumped up to grab in this years draft. Sheldon Rankins has taken a huge step forward in his development and should be a run stopper this season.
The linebacking core has been a big weakness since Vilma retired. The Saints went out and paid Demario Davis, who was top ten in total tackles last year in New York. The rest of the group including Alex Anzalone, Craig Robertson, A.J. Klien and Manti Te’o will all benefit from Davis leadership and play-making ability.
Marcus Williams won’t be remember for his interception in the Vikings game but the whiff on Stephon Diggs for the win. However, as a rookie he had a stand out year and was one of the best safeties in the league. He will be partnered with veteran presence Kurt Coleman who came over from the Panthers. Marshon Lattimore won Defensive Rookie of the Year and once he started the defense was one of the best in the league. He will be paired with Ken Crowley who is an above average corner and bring back Patrick Robinson, who played well for the Eagles.
Wil Lutz finally gave Payton a kicker he could trust and turn to in close games. Long time punter Thomas Morstead will be returning after breaking a rib in the last game of the season. Shifty Tommy Lee Lewis and Savvy Ted Ginn Jr. will assume the returning roles in which they both add potential for big play opportunities.
The NFC South is a strong group. The Falcons, and Panthers will compete for the title. Tampa Bay should improve on defense. The first five games should be a BREES. Logically this team is as good as any in the league. With no major changes and bringing in some strong veteran presence, this team shouldn’t lose any grip this year.
Over 9.5 and NFC Champions
Unlike the Ram and Eagles the team didn’t add players with attitude problems. New Orleans will catch their toughest opponents in the Super Dome. The Saints took a stab at Marcus Davenport as a win now move. Drew Brees theoretically should have a few years left. Their toughest opponent will be a trip to Minnesota and they will be motivated to knock them off at home.
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