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5 Reasons Your Team Should be Afraid of the 2017 New Orleans Saints

It all starts with Drew.

NFL: New Orleans Saints-OTA Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn’t matter if you’re the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, the NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons, the Green Bay Packers, or Jay Cutler’s Miami Dolphins. You shouldn’t be looking forward to your matchup with the New Orleans Saints, either in the regular season or the post season. Here are five reasons why:

  1. The Saints still have one of the best QBs in the league.
NFL: Pro Bowl Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Drew Brees is another year older, but you wouldn’t know it by his stats last year. He passed the 5,000 passing yards mark for the 5th time in his career in 2016, with his highest completion percentage since 2011. It won’t last forever and time is surely not on Drew and the Saints’ side, but if for only 2017 (Drew is currently set to become a free agent after this season), the Saints should again get Hall of Fame production under center.

2. The Saints might have the best RB duo in the NFL.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Peterson is a another future Hall of Fame player suiting up for New Orleans in 2017. He’s one year removed from a 1,400-yard season, and ran for over 2,000 yards in 2012. And he’s not even the starter. Last year, Mark Ingram became the first Saints RB to run for over 1,000 yards since Deuce McAllister. At only 27 years old, Ingram is still in the prime of his career and is looking to improve on what was a solid year in 2016. Add in rookie RB Alvin Kamara and the Saints have one of the deepest and best backfields in the NFL.

3. Sean Payton is coaching for his job, and that means bad news for opposing defenses.

NFL: New Orleans Saints-Training Camp Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Payton has led the New Orleans Saints to three consecutive 7-9 seasons, wasting away three more years of an aging Drew Brees. Now, Sean Payton (and potentially Drew Brees) has his future tied to the 2017 New Orleans Saints. If the Saints end the 2017 season looking at another lost season, not good enough to make the playoffs and not bad enough for a premium draft pick, Sean Payton could be on his way out. Payton surely knows this, and will lay it all on the line with his offensive play-calling. Widely regarded as one of the better offensive minds in the NFL, a gambling Sean Payton is a dangerous Sean Payton to opposing teams.

4. The Saints have trimmed the fat with their assistant coaches.

NFL: Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of Sean Payton, one of the ways the Saints subtly let him know he was in the hot seat in 2017 was by releasing all of his friends and colleagues that were assistant coaches - Joe Vitt, Greg McMahon and others. Now with new assistant coaches taking care of Stephone Anthony and the rest of the Saints’ Linebackers, the Saints putrid Special Teams unit from 2017, and a second year under new Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen, the Saints should see improved play from all of the units under Sean Payton.

5. The Saints defense will be just good enough to help this team win.

NFL: New Orleans Saints-Training Camp Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone expects the Saints defense to take another step forward in 2017, but does anyone really think they will be a top 10 defense next year? Absolutely not. But they will see improved play on the defensive line with the additions of Alex Okafor and the return of Hau’oli Kikaha, improved play at linebacker with AJ Klein, improved play at Corner with rookie Marshon Lattimore, and improved play at Safety with the removal of Jairus Byrd. Don’t look for an eye-popping performance, but look for a unit just good enough to keep the Saints in a few more games this year. And with this offense, that’s all this team needs.