Obviously, we do not know when they will play the games and that will make some difference. Our Saints offense isn't the same in the cold, so hopefully we get some luck with some of the road games.
I won't discuss the games with the NFC South teams. We all know we get them twice and those games are almost always battles, regardless of what the opposing team's record is at the time.
Well, it looks like we get the AFC East, the NFC West, 3rd best NFC North and NFC East teams.
Of the 8 3rd place division teams, Chicago (10-6) and Dallas (8-8) have 2 of the 3 best records from 2012. Pittsburgh was also 8-8.
So we got a bad draw there. I'm no Cowboys fan, but they have explosive talent on offense and defense. They underachieved big time in 2012 and could be a problem in 2013. I'm not as high on the Bears, but I wasn't last year either and they went 10-6 and looked legit the first 8 weeks of the season. A good draft can make them dangerous.
Home games 2013:
Arizona: I hate to guarantee victory because we got beat by MAX HALL. But in the dome with a new coach (Arians) and what is most likely a new QB, I have to hope we win this game. I guess with what Arians has done with Indy, that may be debatable.
San Francisco: Obviously a tough game. But to me, this is turning into a mini rivalry again. We can score on them, but can we stop them? I think Kaepernick is very dangerous and hope Ryan can figure the way to shut him down. I am happy this game is in the dome; I feel this will make a difference and would predict a win today.
Buffalo: Call me crazy, but I think this is a dangerous game. I think the later we have them, the better. In case some of you didn't know, CJ Spiller is going to be a star in this league. As long as he is healthy, he will be dangerous if Buffalo uses him right. I feel we have a very good chance to win, but this will be a game where the defense will be extremely important. Buffalo has some opportunistic players on defense so it would be best if Drew wasn't leaned upon to make all the plays.
Miami: I feel good about a win here. I think Miami is still another year (or 5) away from doing damage.
Dallas: Any sensible NFL fan knows what Dallas is capable of in its current state (if everyone is 100%). You put Romo with Austin, Bryant, Witten, Murray, Ogletree, and you have the potential of 35 a night. But crap, we have to face another Monte Kiffin defense. As if we didn't get enough of that guy. At this point, a win seems 50/50 to me. Unbelievably, I think this is the home game I'm least sure of. I think we will have the personnel to contain the Niners, but I worry about Dallas' pass attack.
Away games 2013:
St. Louis: Recently, a bad Rams team beat us. Personally, I believe that the Rams will be above .500 in 2013. I like the defense, and believe that if Bradford gets one solid WR (or even TE) option, this team will be dangerous in 2013. Add another target with Amendola and Givens, things can get intersting in St Louis.
Seattle: They are pretty damn good. And playing in Seattle is tough. This will be a huge challenge for the Saints. I can only hope we get them as early as possible.
New England: We've actually been pretty successful against them. I actually don't mind this matchup because we are so similar. I worry more about most of the teams in the NFC West and....
Chicago: That field sucks for us. Come on September Bears matchup...... please.
Jets: I feel a win here. The Jets are in trouble. Its trouble that Rob's bro can't fix in one year.
I can't see how we don't finish 11-5 with average defensive play or 9-7 with below average defensive play. Too many offensive weapons. If Rob Ryan makes a big difference, we could go 13-3 with a pretty tough schedule. It is a great time to be a Saints fan. Even though Rob Ryan was not my 1st choice as a hire, I can certainly appreciate how guys like Spags or Ryan approach this job as an opportunity. Yes, the Spags experiment failed, but let's face it, many more of us were excited than skeptical about that decision last offseason. Rob Ryan is a very similar hire.
Now to be honest, I am not a big fan of the Rob Ryan hire. But he was one of the top choices out there and we landed him. With the focus being on the 3-4, why not go with a guy that has family success on defense in the blood?
A 7-9 season without Payton does not kill my optimism for this team. We'll see what is to come with this 3-4 move. But one thing is for sure. The offense will produce, basically against anyone mentioned. But can Rob be sure that the other team doesn't shred our team to pieces?