The New Orleans Saints are a week away from their regular season opener against the Minnesota Vikings. The Saints struggled on defense again last season and finished with a 7-9 record. They did not make the playoffs.
Here are three predictions for the Saints this season.
#3. Drew Brees will break the single season passing yards record
Brees is one of the most prolific passers in the league. He already has five of top nine passing performances in a season. Peyton Manning, while playing for the Denver Broncos, broke Brees’ previous record of 5,476 passing yards by one yard in 2013. Brees has that number to shoot for this season.
He has obviously proven capable of the feat before, and this year he has the schedule, the receivers and the coaching staff that will allow him to do it.
The schedule sets up well because Brees won’t have to worry about too many cold whether games. Their trips north are to Minneapolis (inside in September), Green Bay (in late October) and Buffalo (in mid-November). It is unlikely, but the only way he has to throw through the snow is against the Bills.
The Saints personnel at receiver is one of the better groups in the league. Even though Brandin Cooks is gone, the Saints have Michael Thomas, Willie Snead, Brandon Coleman, Ted Ginn and Coby Fleener. They will have multiple matchup advantages on every pass play for Brees to pick apart.
Finally, head coach Sean Payton is a passing genius. He wants to throw the ball and there are few coaches that can plan a passing attack better than Payton.
#2. Kenny Vaccaro will lead the team in tackles
The Saints defense is not good. Only five teams allowed more yards and only one allowed more points. The trend will continue again this season.
Vaccaro is a safety that can rack up the tackles. Coaches don’t want to see a safety lead the team in tackles, because it usually means they are giving up a lot of yards with the last line of defense having to make the stops. That should be the case for the Saints. The linebackers and defensive tackles aren’t good enough to make a lot of plays in the backfield or around the line of scrimmage and the cornerbacks aren’t good or are inexperienced. Out of necessity, Vaccaro will top the 100-tackle mark.
#1. The Saints will finish last in the NFC South division
The Saints won’t be one of the worst teams in the league, but their defense will keep them from getting out of the cellar of the NFC South. They will miss the playoffs for the fourth time in the last five years.