The dog days of summer are certainly hitting the NFL world as we await the start of training camp later this month. With that comes predictions and odds on favorites for the upcoming season. These as always should be taken with a grain of salt, but they certainly embolden the fanatics for each team to voice their displeasure in their team’s rankings. For the New Orleans Saints faithful the newest rankings by Fox Bet has the Saints with the 7th best odds to win the NFC this year and Who Dat Nation may be scratching their heads at this one.
For a team who has won the division for 4 straight seasons, it sure doesn’t seem like they are getting a lot of respect here. On the surface I can understand the trepidation. From the outside looking in you have a team who is replacing a hall of fame quarterback and consensus best player in your franchise’s history. You had a team in seemingly salary cap purgatory and you are in the division with the Super Bowl Champs who return all 22 starters and have the GOAT at quarterback.
Those who closely follow the team will tell you there is context to everything you read. Yes while the Saints will have to replace the legend in Drew Brees, they have experience doing so the last couple of seasons. In fact you can say the Saints have proven that post life Brees may not be that daunting of a task. The team has posted an 8-1 record the last 2 years which only lends to the genius of coach Sean Payton even more.
You heard all offseason that the Saints were so far over the salary cap that the team could only afford to put a Po Boy from Parkway on layaway. Yet, the Saints were able to still retain a top tier roster from a talent standpoint and debatably only lost 2 notable players as cap casualties. This was all the while still extended one of the best young offensive lineman in the game and actually getting about 11 million under the cap with the potential to add possibly more cornerback depth or another position. That doesn't sound like doom and gloom to me.
While the Saints remain in the same division as the champs, the Saints did take 2 of 3 from the Bucs last season and had a lead in the 3rd quarter before Jared Cook’s fumble turned the tide in the Divisional Round. I fully expect the Saints to be in the thick of things for the division this season and compete for playoff position.
One could easily look at the uncertainty with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, the suspect defense of the Dallas Cowboys, and the question mark of which QB will play in San Francisco as reasons to question their placement on the list. However, we’ll let their fans add context to that discussion. As for the Saints as one New Orleans native so eloquently said, Put some “respeck” on my name.