It was a huge changing of the guard in New Orleans last season. For as long as you can remember, it’s been all about the offense under Sean Payton’s watch. While that side of the ball more than held its own last season, it was the defense that allowed the franchise to put forth its best campaign since winning the Super Bowl back in 2010.
Though the season ended in a spectacularly gruesome fashion in the Twin Cities in the postseason, 2017-18 could go down in history as the season New Orleans changed its overall identity and became a force in the league once again. The defense allowed the tenth fewest points in the league ( 20.4 PPG ) and did so by containing both the run and pass while forcing a grand total of 25 takeaways which led to a +7 turnover ratio.
Upper management added a pass rusher in the draft in Marcus Davenport out of UTSA and snagged Natrell Jamerson in the fifth to give the secondary more depth. Not that they’ll need it should Marshon Lattimore and company remain healthy after locking down opposing passing attacks last season.
Off a season in which he threw for the highest completion percentage of his career, 39-year old Drew Brees in once again back to call the shots under center in 2018. New Orleans ranked top four in yards gained ( 391.2 YPG ) and points scored ( 28.4 PPG ) last season, and all the major components of that attack are back with the 1-2 punch of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara in the backfield and Michael Thomas leading the wide receiver corps.
While depth and playing in an extremely tough division are concerns, the Saints have pushed all their chips into the middle of the table in hopes of winning a Super Bowl sooner rather than later. They were a fluke missed tackle away from going to the NFC title game last season, and will no doubt be taking to the gridiron in 2018 with a chip on their shoulder. Originally one of three teams with a season win total of 9.5 or higher before the betting markets started moving the lines, the Saints look to be a bona fide Super Bowl contender this season provided the injury bug is kind and the back half of the schedule doesn’t get the best of them.
Week 1: Buccaneers at Saints, Sunday, September 9, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 2: Browns at Saints, Sunday, September 16, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 3: Saints at Falcons, Sunday, September 23, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 4: Saints at Giants, Sunday, September 30, 4:25 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 5: Redskins at Saints, Monday, October 8, 8:15 p.m. ET – ESPN
Week 6: Bye Week
Week 7: Saints at Ravens, Sunday, October 21, 4:05 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 8: Saints at Vikings, Sunday, October 28, 8:20 p.m. ET – NBC
Week 9: Rams at Saints, Sunday, November 4, 4:25 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 10: Saints at Bengals, Sunday, November 11, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 11: Eagles at Saints, Sunday, November 18, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 12: Falcons at Saints, Thursday, November 22,a 8:20 p.m. ET – NBC
Week 13: Saints at Cowboys, Sunday, November 29, 8:20 p.m. ET – FOX/NFL Network
Week 14: Saints at Buccaneers, Sunday, December 9, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 15: Saints at Panthers, Monday, December 17, 8:15 p.m. ET – ESPN
Week 16: Steelers at Saints, Sunday, December 23, 4:25 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 17: Panthers at Saints, Sunday, December 30, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
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