The New Orleans Saints have the NFL right where they want them. No one is talking about the Saints as possible contenders and that should suit the team just fine. Looking back at the past two years what other division in the NFC can say they have played better than the NFC South? In 2015, it was the surprise rise of the Carolina Panthers who rode a high-scoring offense to the Super Bowl. In 2016, it was the high-scoring offense in which the Atlanta Falcons rode to the Super Bowl. While neither team walked away victorious they put the rest of the NFC on notice that they can no longer take the southern teams for granted.
As we get ready to begin the 2017 NFL season, the Saints took what was an explosive offense which features Drew Brees an added one of the best running back in NFL history in Adrian Peterson. While it’s still not situated how Sean Payton will use both Peterson and Mark Ingram, it’s safe to say the Saints rushing attack will be one of the best in the league.
Brees will look to once again go over the 5000 yard mark for the 5th time in his career. However, it may not be as simple as that with the addition of Peterson and the loss of one of his favorites targets– Brandin Cooks. With the Saints looking to improve on the defensive side they decided on a trade with the New England Patriots which netted them a first, third rounder. The Saints then took CB– Marshon Lattimore, OT– Ryan Ramczyk, S– Marcus Williams, LB– Alex Anzalone and DE– Trey Hendrickson all before the third round was done.
While the loss of Cooks will sting a little, the Saints had to improve on one of the league’s worst defenses.
With the Saints hoping for a defense reprieve of sorts they will need to be on their A-Game in a division that houses Quarterbacks such as Cam Newton, Matty Ryan, and Jameis Winston. Not forgetting to mention their need for great cover DB’s who will have their hands full with DeSean Jackson, Kelvin Benjamin and Julio Jones two times this year. The Saints main goal is to attack the QB. Last season, they accounted for only 30 sacks.
If the Saints can fix their close game calls (lost 7 games by a touchdown or less) then that’s the requirement for a playoff team. The defense is a big part of that but look at the success of the Raiders last season. Their defense was terrible but their offense was top-notch. This is where Peterson and Ingram come in. Their job is to keep Brees’ arm fresh, the chains moving and their defense off the field.
The Saints have a shot. So much so that no one is talking about them as contenders. Sort of the same way no one mentioned the Panthers or the Falcons either.