Prior to Week 1 of the NFL season, we had a little fun with the Saints schedule and attempted to predict the game-by-game results for their year. In short, a 12-4 season was what I went on record predicting for New Orleans in both May and September. Here's what was said in each column.
Way Too Early 2020 Record Prediction: 12-4
The 49ers are the team getting most of the top honors as the team to beat in the NFC. Yes, they're defending conference champions, but they've lost a good bit in the offseason and have plenty of question marks. The Saints return with most of last year's roster intact. In all honesty, this is at least an 11-win team with a ceiling of 13-3. New Orleans has too much momentum carried over from last season to flop out. It could be the final Drew Brees run, and it should be a memorable one.
Official 2020 Saints Record Prediction: 12-4
Not much has changed from before, as I still believe 12-4 sounds about right for the Saints this season. At best, the ceiling is a 13-win year with the floor looking like 10-6 at worst. This would be due to some big games not being able to have fans in the stands. New Orleans has one of the most complete rosters in the league, and is still a team that can get several wins from Drew Brees alone.
May predicted losses: Originally, I had the Saints losing to the Raiders in Week 2. They'd lose the rematch with Tampa in Week 9, a Week 15 loss to the Chiefs, and then losing the season finale against the Panthers. It only made sense with the Raiders opening their new stadium and splitting the series with the highly-touted Tom Brady Bucs. Patrick Mahomes coming to the Superdome delivered as promised.
September predicted losses: I swapped the Raiders loss with the Week 14 Eagles game, then swapped a Week 17 Panthers defeat to a Week 4 loss at Detroit. The Chiefs and Bucs game stayed the same. Buying into the Tom Brady hype was a bit overrated, clearly. The Lions game sure started out horrid, especially with what the team was facing at the time with the false positive COVID-19 tests. Unfortunately, losing to the Eagles was a bad look and ended their streak, something I called attention to in September.
What I said about the final game against the Panthers back then holds true today:
If you don't remember anything for the 2020 season, then keep in mind that there's seven playoff teams for the postseason, with only one team getting a first-round bye. Highly competitive conference play should mean Week 17 has a lot at stake. The Saints will be playing for something, and the Panthers will want to spoil positioning for them. However, New Orleans rides a big high to close out the season and enters playoff mode trying to exorcise the playoff demons.
Unfortunately, New Orleans couldn't capture the top spot in the NFC, and once again find themselves playing on Wild Card weekend after a successful campaign. The Saints have a ton to prove this postseason, and it will likely be considered a complete failure if it's not a deep run for Sean Payton's squad.
In May, I didn't give score predictions, but in September I did. Believe it or not, I had a three-point loss to the Chiefs (30-27). I had the Saints scoring 30 points or more in 9 of the games in 2020, and they finished with 8 and had a 7-1 record when hitting that mark.
Original Score Predictions vs. Actual Score Predictions
- Week 1: Saints 30, Bucs 23 | Saints 34, Bucs 23
- Week 2: Saints 27, Raiders 17 | Raiders 34, Saints 24
- Week 3: Saints 34, Packers 30 | Packers 37, Saints 30
- Week 4: Lions 28, Saints 27 | Saints 35, Lions 29
- Week 5: Saints 31, Chargers 17 | Saints 30, Chargers 27
- Week 6: BYE WEEK
- Week 7: Saints 28, Panthers 20 | Saints 27, Panthers 24
- Week 8: Saints 31, Bears 21 | Saints 26, Bears 23
- Week 9: Bucs 31, Saints 28 | Saints 38, Bucs 3
- Week 10: Saints 34, 49ers 28 | Saints 27, 49ers 13
- Week 11: Saints 28, Falcons 23 | Saints 24, Falcons 9
- Week 12: Saints 31, Broncos 17 | Saints 31, Broncos 3
- Week 13: Saints 34, Falcons 28 | Saints 21, Falcons 16
- Week 14: Eagles 28, Saints 20 | Eagles 24, Saints 21
- Week 15: Chiefs 30, Saints 27 | Chiefs 32, Saints 29
- Week 16: Saints 34, Vikings 24 | Saints 52, Vikings 33
- Week 17: Saints 30, Panthers 21 | Saints 33, Panthers 7
All in all, it was a fun season for the black and gold. However, the real work starts now, as the team has its sights set on the ultimate goal, bringing another Lombardi Trophy to the city of New Orleans and sending Drew Brees out as a winner.