So there are no more preseason games. Now, Who Dat Nation will finally see how this year’s team will fare after a lackluster 0-4 preseason. This schedule is very tough as well. The Saints will face the AFC West this year. So here are the game by game predictions.
The Saints will open up their season against the Oakland Raiders. This Raiders team went 7-9 last season led by quarterback Derek Carr. Carr threw for over 3,987 yards with 32 touchdowns versus only 13 interceptions. The Raiders lost six games that was under a touchdown. This year a lot of people predict this team will make it to the playoffs. Regardless, the Saints will have a tough time stopping Carr.
The Black and Gold travel to New York to play the Giants in week two. The Giants are looking to establish an identity. Last year the Giants finished at 6-10 which was third in the watered down NFC East. Watch for rookie sensation Sterling Shephard to emerge as a star quickly at wide receiver. Also look for the Saints to post some big numbers in the rushing game, as the Giants were ranked 24th in rushing defense. Saints win on a last second field goal to fight back to .500.
The Saints will play their only Monday Night Football game in the Mercedes Benz Superdome. There is no way the Saints lose this one. This will be the tenth anniversary of the historical block by Steve Gleason. Drew Brees will throw for over 400 yards in this one, and Matt Ryan gets sacked 4 times. By far, this will be the Saints best effort all season. Who Dat Nation will come out and break the sound barrier.
Suprisingly, this will be the first time Drew Brees will play in San Diego as a Saint in a regular season game. The Saints played the Chargers in the Superdome in 2012. And in 2008 the teams met in London. Once again, this is gonna be big game for Drew Brees. The Saints will cause a few turnovers and run up the score in this one.
So the Saints come in at 3-1 after the bye week for a critical divisional game. The Carolina Panthers come into the dome in front of a raucous crowd. This is where the schedule starts to get a lot tougher. Tight end Greg Olsen will catch a bunch of balls from Cam Newton in this game. The game will be a back and forth affair with Carolina pulling it out late. This loss may be the most disappointing to Who Dat Nation.
The Saints will try and rebound after a tough loss. The Chiefs are my prediction to go to the Super Bowl, so this one will be tough. The Saints defense actually show up for this one, holding the Chiefs to only 17 points. The only problem is that the offensive line allows multiple sacks on Drew Brees. Brees will have his worse game of the year with 3 interceptions against one touchdown.
Who Dat Nation will finally get what they been asking for. The Seahawks come to New Orleans! This game will definitely be circled by the players and fans. What else can be said about the Seahawks, that hasn’t been already been spoken. Seattle has four double digit winning seasons in a row. The defense is led by cornerback Richard Sherman and the “Legion of Boom.” Unfortunately, for the Saints the Seahawks just tear up the offensive line. The Saints will struggle to get 50 yards rushing in this game which means Brees will toss it 40-50 times. That equation is never good for a winning outcome.
The Saints will finally snap their three game losing streak this week. The woeful 49ers host the Saints with new coach Chip Kelly. There is no other team that has had more drama on the offseason than San Francisco. Quarterback Blaine Gibbert was just named the starter, but look for Colin Kaepernick to be the guy when the Saints play them. The 49ers are a very bad team. The Saints run away easily with this one and rack up over 500 total yards on offense.
DENVER, CO – AUGUST 27: Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) fights to get past Los Angeles Rams offensive guard Garrett Reynolds (71) during the second quarter August 27, 2016 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. (Photo By John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Most of Who Dat Nation would be happy with a 4-4 start. The Saints will host the Super Bowl champions this week with a visit from the Denver Broncos in week 10. This will be a new team without Payton Manning surely. However, as long as they have linebacker Von Miller and the defense, the Broncos will be contenders. Look for wide receivers Demarcus Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders to get 100 yards each receiving. The Saints get burned deep often.
The Saints will play on Thursday night this week. Once again the Black and Gold play the Carolina Panthers. This game will be a defensive struggle. The Saints defense play one their best games of the season picking off Cam Newton three times. The offense though struggles to move the ball. The Saints have a chance to force overtime, but kicker Kai Forbath hooks a 41 yard field goal as time expires.
ANAHEIM, CA: Eric Dickerson of the Los Angeles Rams rushes against the New Orleans Saints at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, California
No the Saints won’t get running back Eric Dickerson who is featured above. What they do get is a dose of running back Todd Gurley who runs for over 170 yards. The Saints are the better team on paper, but turnovers get the best of them. This loss dampens any hope for the playoffs.
The Detroit Lions come into New Orleans this week. The Lions are simply a team that has lost its way. Last year the Lions went 7-9 after posting an 11-5 record in 2014. The one thing the Lions have is balance on both sides of the ball. They are equally terrible on both ends. Saints win easily
The Saints travel to Tampa Bay to play the division leaders. Yes you did read that right. The Saints now sitting at 5-7 will need to win out to have any chance at the playoffs. Tampa’s offense is just too much for the Black and Gold. The Saints defense plays well as cornerback Delvin Breaux picks off two passes and recovers a fumble. However, the Saints once again cannot break 50 yards rushing.
The Saints will draw their toughest opponent of the year. The Arizona Cardinals come in at 11-2 riding high. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald comes in as the league’s leading wide receiver. Add that with the best defense in the NFL, and you’ve got a blowout. Saints are officially eliminated from the playoffs and lose their ninth game of the season. This loss will also guarantee a third straight losing season under Sean Payton.
Sep 21, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints fans in the stands during the first half of a game against the Minnesota Vikings at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
The Saints try and get revenge on the Buccaneers on Christmas Eve. Who Dat Nation at this point is definitely getting restless by this point. This game will simply hurt. After a 3-1 start to the season, the Saints have gone 2-9 since. After this game, it will be 2-10. Nothing really to add except that the Saints will hit rock bottom.
The Saints can salvage their season with a sweep of the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Running backs Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower go off for 200 yards rushing combined. Rookie Daniel Lasco also adds a kickoff return for a touchdown. The Saints embarrass the Falcons and finish in third place in the NFC South in front of the “Dirty Birds.”
NEW ORLEANS, LA – NOVEMBER 8: Head Coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints has a discussion with a official during a game against the Tennessee Titans at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 8, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Titans defeated the Saints in overtime 34-28. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
The Saints showed their lack of experience and consistency in the preseason. Winless teams have about a 20% chance of getting into the playoffs. The Saints do improve on defense to finish in the top 20, but The offensive line is simply offensive all year long. The most positive thing is that the Saints should get a nice first round pick in 2017.