Now that the 2016 NFL regular season schedule has been announced, ESPN has released their early regular season record prediction for the New Orleans Saints. The Saints are predicted to finish 8-8 without too many bold predictions. I'll go over their predictions, and see if I agree with each. Here we go, but excuse me, my homerism is showing:
I understand the argument for a loss in Week 1. Really, I do. The Raiders have a good, young team and the Carr/Cooper tandem will likely cause the Saints fits. I just see the Saints starting the season at home with a win.
Week 1 vs Oakland Raiders - ESPN: LOSS ; Me: WIN
The Saints playing outside of the confines of the Superdome was usually an automatic loss, let alone when playing a good offense system like the Giants. I'm taking another offensive explosion with the Saints getting the upperhand.
Week 2 at New York Giants - ESPN: LOSS ; Me: WIN
Too much emotion here. The Saints, playing the rival Atlanta Falcons, 10 years after Steve Gleason's blocked punt and the return to the Super Dome. Saints roll to a fast start in 2016.
Week 3 vs Atlanta Falcons - ESPN: WIN ; Me: WIN
Another high-emotion game with Drew Brees returning to San Diego for the first time as a Saint. With a short week and a long plane ride, I see the streak ending at 3.
Week 4 at San Diego Charges - ESPN: WIN ; Me: LOSS
Week 5 BYE
Saints play the NFC Champion Carolina Panthers, but get them at home in the Dome, and coming off a Bye. A close game, but with Drew Brees (and not Luke McCown) at the helm all game, I see the Saints pulling out the win.
Week 6 vs Carolina Panthers - ESPN: WIN ; Me: LOSS
A top-tier NFL defense with a formidable offense? The Saints are going to have problems at Arrowhead.
Week 7 at Kansas City Chiefs - ESPN: LOSS ; Me: LOSS
A season full of storylines, here we have the return of Jimmy Graham. I see Drew Brees attacking the returning Brandon Browner and Jimmy Graham not having too many opportunities to dunk the ball over the goal post. Russell Wilson will make sure Jimmy gets his TD, but that'll be the end of it.
Week 8 vs Seattle Seahawks - ESPN: LOSS ; Me: WIN
Who is going to be the starting QB in San Francisco? Does 49er front office know? Colin Kaepernick, even with his wheels, won't give the Saints too many problems. Any rookie QB won't fare any better.
Week 9 at San Francisco 49ers - ESPN: WIN ; Me: WIN
The offense probably won't be quite to the same caliber as the Chiefs, but the defense is that much better. Vonn Miller will give the Saints nightmares all game.
Week 10 vs Denver Broncos - ESPN: LOSS ; Me: LOSS
Another short week with a decent plane ride, and playing a divisional foe on the road. This time the Panthers take it.
Week 11 at Carolina Panthers - ESPN: LOSS ; Me: LOSS
Another mystery QB situation, but this team is almost sure to have a rookie leading the offense. Even with Todd Gurley, I see the Saints winning decisively.
Week 12 vs Los Angeles Rams - ESPN: WIN ; Me: WIN
Megatron is retired, Suh is in Miami, and the Saints play at home. Another decisive win.
Week 13 vs Detroit Lions - ESPN: WIN ; Me: WIN
The Saints have two games against Tampa Bay in three weeks. I could see any of the thee possible situations occurring (a split or a sweep by either team), but I'll nail down my prediction: I'm going with a Saints sweep. Winston/Evans/Martin is as good a trio as there is in the NFL South, but I don't think the Bucs defense can slow the Saints offense.
Week 14 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers - ESPN: LOSS ; Me: WIN
A long travel, a West Coast offense, another menacing defense? Carson Palmer torches the Saints defense in a high-scoring game.
Week 15 at Arizona Cardinals - ESPN: LOSS ; Me: LOSS
I've already laid out my pick here. Saints sweep the Bucs and win their final regular season home game of 2016.
Week 16 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers - ESPN: LOSS ; Me: WIN
As much as I would love to say the Saints will sweep the Falcons, I just see the Saints losing any momentum they had after beating the Bucs at home, losing a close game to the Falcons in Atlanta.
Week 17 at Atlanta Falcons - ESPN: WIN ; Me: LOSS
ESPN Final Record: 8-8
My Final Record: 9-7
There weren't too many differences, and I could see either situation playing out. What do you think? What is your prediction for the Saints 2016 record?