The Saints were knocked out of the playoffs by the Vikings and their ‘Minneapolis Miracle’ touchdown play by Steffon Diggs. They’re a strong squad with a good head coach and things look good again for 2018
Reasons to be cheerful?
Drew Brees is back. He signed a two-year extension on his contract and will be back to lead the offence in 2018 at least. Alongside him will be offensive rookie of the year Alvin Kamara who will need to lead the running game with Mark Ingram banned for the first four games. Michael Thomas will look continue his development into a top ten receiver and rookie wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith who has been getting good review in the pre-season
The Saints paid a hefty price in the first round of the draft to trade up with Green Bay and select defensive end Marcus Davenport. Davenport was described as ‘raw’ in most pre-draft reviews but with the potential to be a star. He’ll line up with Alex Okafor, who returns after impressing last year on a one year deal, and veteran Cameron Jordan. Couple that D-Line with defensive rookie of the year Marshon Lattimore and his backfield compatriots and it’s not just the offence that should excite in 2018.
Reasons to be fearful?
The NFC South sent three teams to the playoffs last year and it wouldn’t be a shock for that to happen again in 2018. The Saints, Panthers and Falcons are all strong and each can take wins from each other. This will be a hard-fought division. In fact, it will be a hard-fought conference as the NFC is stacked. Getting to the playoffs will be one thing but I feel like each team that gets there really will be capable of beating another.
Brees is another year older and that means the fear of injury is always there. As we saw last year with Aaron Rodgers, it only takes one hit to put a player out for the year. The good news is that the Saints have recognised this and bought in Teddy Bridgewater to back Brees up should the worst happen.
Whilst they do have Kamara, the running game really benefitted from having two running backs in the backfield that did different things. No Ingram for four weeks means that a lot of the between the tackles running could fall on Kamara’s shoulders which isn’t where he’s best. An increase number of touches could also wear him down and lessen his effect later in the season. Mike Gillislee has been bought in to help and he’ll likely see a lot more game time then he did in New England through the first four weeks of this year.
How does the season shape up?
I really like the Saints this year and would love to see them win the Superbowl. They have the talent to do so and it would be bitterly disappointing if they don’t make the playoffs at the very least. Realistically they should be looking to give Drew Brees his second Superbowl ring so he’s at least on par with Eli Manning!