NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
2021 record: 9-8
2022 bye week: 14
Most impactful additions: S Tyrann Mathieu, WR Jarvis Landry, WR Chris Olave (first round), QB Andy Dalton
Most impactful departures: DB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S Malcolm Jenkins, T Terron Armstead
Easiest part(s) of schedule: If the Saints are going to be in the running for the NFC South title, they are going to have to make noise in the front half.
While there are no extended runs of anything close to “sure wins,” the first 10 weeks of the season are likely where the best opportunities lie. Opening at Atlanta is a must win, and truthfully, opening at least 2-1 against division foes in the first three weeks is a must.
After a trip to London to face a much-improved Minnesota team with a new coach, the Saints need to go at least 4-2 against Seattle, Cincinnati, at Arizona, Las Vegas, Baltimore and at Pittsburgh, playing four games in six weeks in the Dome.
Toughest part(s) of schedule: Well, if the best chance for success is in the beginning, the crucial tests come in the back half. The three weeks leading up to a ridiculously late bye of Week 14 features the Rams, at San Francisco and at Tampa Bay on a Monday night.
Then two road games during the holidays – at Cleveland (likely with Deshaun Watson at quarterback) and at Philadelphia – could be the difference between a NFC South title or not. (And quite possibly a playoff spot – or not.)
Caesars over/under win total: 8.5 – Over -130 / Under +110; Odds to win Super Bowl LVII at +4000
Book it: OVER. It really bothers me that every, single, solitary sports media soul within 100 miles of this team has the over, and 19 times out of 20 that would have me on the other side. But how can one not think these Saints will do at least as well as they did last year with a revolving door at quarterback, offensive line and wide receiver – even with Dennis Allen taking over the reins for Sean Payton?
If Jameis Winston were to become injured and miss time this season, Andy Dalton is leap years ahead of Trevor Siemian and Taysom Hill (sorry, Taysom lovers) as a backup, and I am not sure the team would miss a beat. Having Jarvis Landry come in as one of the more seasoned (and talented) receivers in this league to help mold Chris Olave and bring stability to the position might end up being the most important move Mickey Loomis and company made this offseason.
People can say what they want, but it would be a surprise if Michael Thomas doesn’t use all the doubters as motivation toward being in the conversation for Comeback Player of the Year, and Marquez Calloway and Tre’Quan Smith as role players means there’s incredible depth there.
It is looking more and more like Alvin Kamara will be part of the team all season without a suspension, and Mark Ingram is certainly capable at handling 10 to 12 carries per game, especially near the goal line. Despite the loss of first-round pick Trevor Penning for at least four games and what could end up being the season, the offensive line looks to be in much better shape than it was last year.
All this and we haven’t mentioned what could end up being one of the top 5 defensive units in the NFL. The backfield is so deep they let go (you can call it a trade if you want) of Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, who obviously was bringing his contract dispute with him on the field.
I could go on and on, but you get the picture. The professional handicappers are on the Saints, and so is the general public. The difference between the pros and the Joes are the pros bet this over/under when it was 7.5 a couple of months ago.
It’s still a mini-bargain at 8.5, but maybe a better value is the division title at +320 (which was +500 a couple months ago). No longer is this team the best value in the league, as I think that award goes to either Minnesota or Carolina, but it still is a value.
That being said, don’t go crazy. If you missed the 7.5 and +500 train, don’t try to catch up now. Take a gander at some look-ahead lines, and maybe make some future bets that way.
Projected finish: 10-7
Gambling problem? Call 877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369).
More from The Daily Gazette:
Categories: Upstate Action