2017 NFL Preseason Outlooks: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (NFC South)
2016 record: 7-9 (2-4 in division)
KEY ADDITIONS: RB Adrian Peterson, LB Manti Te’o, WR Ted Ginn Jr., CB Marshon Lattimore
KEY DEPARTURES: WR Brandin Cooks, DT Nick Fairley (IR), LB Dannell Ellerbe (IR)
2016 SEASON RECAP
An 0-3 start to the 2016 season put the Saints in an early whole. Drew Brees was his always stellar self, he topped 255 passing yards in all but 1 of the Saints 2016 games. On the other side of that coin they only had a runner reach 100+ yards 4 times and in 2 of these times they barely made it ( week 8 – 102 yards Hightower and week 17 – 103 yards Ingram).
Willie Snead fell 105 yards short of 1,000 receiving yards, if he could’ve reached that milestone the team would have saw 3 of its wideouts top 1,000 ( Cooks – 1,173 yards and M. Thomas – 1,137 yards). Not many know that in 2016 RB Mark Ingram averaged 5.1 yards per carry, which was 5th in the NFL for guys with at least 100 carries.
2017 SEASON PREVIEW
The Saints still haven’t found a way back to the top of the division. Even though scoring points was never an issue for them, they shook things up quite a bit on offense. The addition of veteran running back, Adrian Peterson, makes an already electrifying offense even more dangerous. Losing Brandin Cooks would have been a setback if it wasn’t for the dynamic duo of wideouts Willie Snead and Michael Thomas. They also signed Ted Ginn Jr. to the touchdown-feast and Drew Brees will have no problem feeding these guys.
The weakest link for the Saints has been their defense. The seondary gets a boost from the return of Delvin Breaux and drafting of Marshon Lattimore, one of the top-rated corners in the draft. Kenny Vaccaro is an intimidating factory on the back end that can change a game at any time. The improvements made this offseason might be enough to get their defense some respect and more importantly, some wins. Look for the Saints to battle the Falcons for the NFC South crown this season or at least sneak into the dance as a Wildcard.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
QB Drew Brees, WR Michael Thomas, RB Mark Ingram, S Kenny Vaccaro, RB Adrian Peterson
2017 RECORD PREDICTION
10 – 6