With a 7-9 record last year, the New Orleans Saints need a break and their preseason schedule could be that. It might not be a sweep but a fresh start.
On Monday, the NFL released all 32 teams preseason schedules. The full 2017 NFL preseason schedule can be seen here, but the New Orleans Saints schedule is noticeably lackluster. The first two are away games against the Cleveland Browns and the Los Angeles Chargers. Their preseason games wrap up with two home games against the Houston Texans and the Baltimore Ravens.
Last season, the team failed to win in the preseason and it put a damper on things. This preseason could be different, though. Obviously, the Saints playing the Browns first seems like a cakewalk, especially if Drew Brees decides to play. Even if he doesn’t, the Saints will be led by Chase Daniel or Garrett Grayson, who have more experience than anyone Cleveland will have. The Browns might have a huge stockpile of draft picks, but a team full of rookies is a mixed bag. A win seems almost guaranteed.
The second game against the new LA Chargers could be a challenge. If the Chargers decide to play Rivers, Brees might take the field. Considering they’re two veteran quarterbacks with plenty of mileage, though, that seems doubtful. The one strength the Chargers has is some key defensive players such as Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Casey Hayward, and Jason Verrett. If the Saints can protect their quarterback, open up holes for their running backs and play solid defense, a win is a strong possibility.
Their two home games are what I feel most nervous about. Last year, the Houston Texans and the Saints met in the preseason with Houston winning, 16-9. It wasn’t a high-scoring game, but the Texans also didn’t rest their main starters. Their roster looks a lot different now though with Tom Savage at the helm. Depending on how Bill O’Brien feels, he might rest stars such as JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney too.
In their previous game, the Saints failed to score before the third quarter and revenge is probably all they can think about. There’s a high possibility Brees will hit the field in this game and, if so, the Saints certainly have an edge here. Plus with what defensive coordinator Dennis Allen can come up with, a Saints’ win isn’t hard to imagine.
Lastly, New Orleans will take on the Baltimore Ravens. A matchup with the Ravens seems almost 50-50, to me. Both teams have solid rosters and will battle until the very end. The battle is normally because free agents and rookies are working hard to get a roster spot. It usually ends up being the best of all the games in my opinion, because it’s all about showing off exactly what you can bring to the team. I can see this game going either way for the Saints, so I’m not going to give a definite prediction yet.