Over the course of 32 days (or so) I will be previewing all 32 NFL teams, followed by an overall season prediction post, leading up to the start of the 2014 season. This post is previewing the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints bounced back with an 11-5 record last year after finishing 7-9 in 2012. With Drew Brees at quarterback and one of the best tight ends in the league — if not the best — it’s hard not to expect them to have another good year this season. They finished second in the division last year, but with the defending division champions expected to not do as we,, this year, the NFC South may be the Saints’ to win.
The Saints finished with the league’s 10th-best offense in points scored and 4th best in yards gained last year, so is it any wonder that Brees had another good year? While his 5162 passing yards and 39 touchdowns were both good enough to be second best in the league, behind Peyton Manning’s record-breaking season, they were actually his worst numbers since 2010. Brees did lose a couple offensive weapons in the offseason — RB Darren Sproles and WR Lance Moore — who accounted for more than 100 receptions between them in 2013.
With the losses of veterans like Sproles and Moore come opportunities for younger players. For the Saints, that means more playing time for WR Kenny Stills and RB Khiry Robinson, both second-year players who put up respectable numbers in limited time on the field during their rookie seasons. WR Brandin Cooks, a first-round pick in this year’s draft, is also going to try to make a name for himself as he sees his first NFL action this season. The Saints’ schedule doesn’t look to difficult this year as they have just five games against teams that made the playoffs last season. If the offense does close to what it did last year again in 2014, another double-digit win season shouldn’t be hard for the Saints to achieve. And if they can get 11 or 12 wins, the division title should be theirs.