Vegas odds have the Saints regular season record win total at 9 for this year's 17-game season. There's plenty of reasons for both optimism and skepticism when it comes to New Orleans for 2021. The reality is there are a lot of unknowns facing Sean Payton's squad, and life without Drew Brees is one of the main drivers for uncertainty.
The Saints News Network team got together to give their record predictions for the black and gold recently, and here's where everyone stands going into Week 1 of the NFL season.
Kyle T. Mosley, 11-6
11-6 is my prediction. I thought about 10-7, but I believe in this defense and their ability to carry the team and win some games.
Bob Rose, 11-6
11-6 record and a Wild-card berth. This team is still among the most talented in the NFL from top to bottom. However, there are going to be some early season struggles because of a new quarterback, Michael Thomas, David Onyemata, and Wil Lutz out, and being displaced by Hurricane Ida.
Brendan Boylan, 10-7
I am predicting the Saints to go 10-7 and pick up a Wild-Card spot. Contrary to national media belief, New Orleans still possesses one of the best top-to-bottom rosters in the entire league, and that needs to be applauded considering where this organization was cap wise at the beginning of the offseason.
Offensively, Jameis Winston’s rocket arm will open up a part of Sean Payton’s playbook that seems to have been closed over the past few years with the declining arm of Drew Brees. Pair that with an Offensive Player of the Year candidate and the Saints may be more explosive on offense than 2020.
Defensively, Bradley Roby and a healthy Kwon Alexander may be the missing puzzles pieces to a defense that had many holes to fill. A new era begins in New Orleans this season but the Saints should remain on of the NFC’s top 7 teams.
Originally, 10-7 is where I put my Saints season prediction, but based on training camp and what we've seen in preseason, I moved that up to 11-6 as the true ceiling for this team when I went through the game-by-game projections. My belief is that New Orleans does a little better than expected through their first several games leading up to the bye week, and then has a lot of real tests in the middle of the season.
Michael Thomas and David Onyemata returning will definitely be a big shot in the arm, as well as the return of Wil Lutz and other players who have landed on short-term injured reserve. Some of the games may go either way, but New Orleans will have to put forth some pretty strong efforts that encompass all 60 minutes.
The Saints have plenty of strong core talent to be a better team than the national media will have you belief. Of course, the proof is always going to be how they perform on the field with the end result being wins. Their best route this season is getting in as a Wild Card, and then seeing what happens in the postseason.
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