“13-3. I keep saying it….” - Drama504
In 2017, the New Orleans Saints finished with an 11-5 record to take first place in the NFC South (the Carolina Panthers had an identical 11-5 record, but the Saints were on top based off head-to-head record). Based off their first place finish last year, the Saints have a significantly harder schedule ahead of them in 2018. The Saints, of course, get their division opponents twice in the season, but also have the privilege of playing the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers.
That being said, a 13-3 record as some Saints’ fans might hope for could be wishful thinking. Even repeating the 11-5 record could be too lofty an expectation. Bleacher Report, for one, believes the Saints only come out with a 9-7 record.
The NFC South projects to be one of the NFL’s most competitive divisions in 2018.
The New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons would be home favorites against any team in the league right now. The Carolina Panthers can win on any given Sunday, too. Even the fourth-best team in the division, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is no pushover.
Between that and a first-place schedule, which will pit New Orleans against the Philadelphia Eagles, Vikings and Rams, the Saints have a difficult 2018 slate. They are one of the four most talented teams in the NFC, but a lot depends on their record going into the bye week.
Last year, the Saints were the one team to start 0-2 and make the playoffs. If they do that this year, they’ll be in trouble.
After their Week 6 bye, they play the Rams, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Carolina at home, all of whom could contend for a playoff berth. Their five-game stretch before the bye—vs. Tampa, vs. Cleveland, at Atlanta, at the New York Giants and vs. Washington—will set the tone for the remainder of their season.
If the Saints so much as go 3-2 over that stretch, it could cost them, as they’ll likely play 11 consecutive games projected as one-score favorites or underdogs.
While a 9-7 record might seem like a let-down in 2018, Bleacher Report’s predicted win-loss record across the NFL has the Saints tying with the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC South. Carolina is predicted to finish in third at 8-8 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are nipping at everyone’s heels at 7-9. Bleacher Report did not predict who between Atlanta and New Orleans would take the division.
Only the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles and the surprising San Francisco 49ers are predicted to have a better record in the NFC than the Saints, with each predicted to go one game better at 10-6 (the Rams matched the Saints and Falcons at 9-7).
Based off Bleacher Report’s win-loss predictions, one of the Saints and Falcons would win the NFC South division title, and the other would be paired with the Los Angeles Rams as the two NFC wild card winners.
What do you think? Is this a fair prediction? Too harsh? Too optimistic? Let us know in the comments. Send me presents.