The Saints went above and beyond last year. They broke the no defense, 7-9 9-7 narrative and put together one of the best seasons in recent history. Sean Peyton is for the first time in a while safely out of the hot seat and has something to prove after a heartbreaking defeat in Minnesota.
Drew Brees returns. Enough said. Really though people marvel at Tom Brady’s play at an old age maybe take a gander at Brees. 39 years old another 4,000 plus yard season with 23 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. Brees hasn’t lost a step even at his age. He will continue that form in 2018 but maybe he takes a slight regression.
One of the major differences in 2017 for the Saints was the development of a run game. Alvin Kamara broke out as a star and will need to continue dominating in 2018 due to a four game Mark Ingram suspension. I believe that Kamara will preform well enough to steal a majority of snaps unlike last year. It goes from 50/50 to 70/30 because of Ingram’s suspension. The backs will have one of the best offensive lines in the conference to run behind. Ryan Ramczyk became a major player in his rookie year and solidified a weakness at tackle for the Saints. The line will continue to preform in 2018 and bring massive gains for the running backs.
The Saints wide receiving core has some depth issues. Once you get past Michael Thomas, who had one of the best seasons in his career last year, and Tedd Ginn Junior who can stretch the field you find very little else. Cameron Meredith is potentially a starter but if any of New Orleans big time wideouts go down the depth behind them is pitiful. Of course you can always count on Brees to raise the play of no namers who get thrown into the lineup due to injury, he’s done that before. This is a clear run first team though. Don’t underestimate Michael Thomas though, a good case could be made that he’s a top five wide receiver in the leauge.
The defense of the Saints made it’s debut in a big way though. Cameron Jordan played like an all pro last year and is a truly scary pass rusher. He had to carry most of the load last year but hopefully with the addition of Marcus Davenport (who the Saints gave up way to much to get in my opinion) that will continue into 2018. The linebacking core is populated by Demario Davis and Manti Teo as the lead guys who shone brightest last year. Alex Azalone will return from a season ending injury to try and regain a starting role after being a surprise starter his rookie year. The defenses strength lies in the secondary though. The Saints added former Eagles number one corner Patrick Robinson to pair alongside DROY Marshon Lattimore who was a top ten corner last year. Marcus Williams will have to recover mentally from the fiasco that took place in Minnesota but before that part the rookie safety out of Utah had been having a great rookie year. If the secondary can continue to break up passes force turnovers and allow the pass rush to get to the QB this will again be the best defense in the division.
The Saints have big expectation in 2018. Sean Peyton has been quoted as saying this year is Super Bowl or bust. While I have supreme confidence in this teams secondary I’m just not sure the rest of the defense or the offense without Mark Ingram for four games can preform the same way they did in 2017.