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The New Orleans Saints finished 9-8 last year barely missing out on playoffs to another 9-8 team, the Philadelphia Eagles. After an action-packed offseason for the Saints, Vegas has the Saints finishing around a similar mark of eight wins for this upcoming season.
After losing long time head coach Sean Payton, safety Marcus Williams, three-time pro bowl tackle Terron Armstead, and veteran defensive back Malcolm Jenkins, majority of media and fans expected a down year for the Saints. However, Saints front office did not go down without a fight. They made incredible additions this offseason to keep the Saints in the playoff hunt in 2022.
Glaring areas of weakness at the beginning of the offseason for the Saints were to find a starting caliber quarterback (not named Taysom Hill) and to add offensive weapons outside of Alvin Kamara and Marquez Callaway. They started by bringing back Jameis Winston on a two-year deal, who led the team to a hot 4-1 start last season beating the Packers and Patriots before tearing his ACL. Last year Winston had very limited options to throw the ball too, this upcoming season is a different story.
With former AP Offensive Player of the Year Michael Thomas returning from injury and shifty first round pick Chris Olave, and Jarvis Landry joining the receiving core, the Saints will be expected to have a much more dynamic offense. The Saints also addressed Armstead’s departure in the draft by selecting Northern Iowa tackle Trevor Penning 19th overall in this year’s draft.
On the defensive side of the ball, losing safeties Williams and Jenkins was no problem for the Saints as they signed two more in free agency, ex-Jets safety Marcus Maye and three-time All-Pro Tyrann Mathieu. They also spent a second-round pick to continue to bolster their secondary with cornerback Alontae Taylor out of Tennessee. He had four interceptions and 19 passes defended in college. Taylor will be joining a team with six other Tennessee alums, the most in the NFL.
Despite losing talented linebacker Kwon Alexander to the New York Jets, the Saints linebacking core is still led by veterans Demario Davis and Eric Wilson. I believe these new additions not only replaced areas of need for the Saints, but also improved many aspects of their offense and defense this offseason.
The news of Sean Payton’s retirement rocked the Bayou but I think the Saints hired the right person to lead this team in 2022 by promoting Dennis Allen from defensive coordinator to head coach. Allen has spent six years under Payton in New Orleans and has been one of the main reasons for stifling their division rivals the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The past two seasons Tom Brady and the Bucs have an 0-4 record against the Saints in the regular season, including an embarrassing 9-0 loss last December.
This dominant ability against the Bucs is why I’m comfortable having the Saints surpass eight wins this coming season and be in the NFC playoff picture come January with 9 or 10 wins.