The Comeback has been previewing all 32 NFL teams from worst to first leading up to the start of the 2018 regular season. We cap our preseason rankings with the under-the-radar New Orleans Saints.
2017 in a nutshell: After going 7-9 in three straight seasons, a money draft class and an emerging defense come together to finally give quarterback Drew Brees enough support to contend. They win the NFC South and make a strong Super Bowl push before falling painfully short.
What’s different: They’re better on both sides of the ball on paper, and that draft class has another offseason under its belt.
Why they could be awesome: Like I said, they’re better on both sides of the ball on paper, and that draft class has another offseason under its belt. I mean, they had both the offensive (Alvin Kamara) and defensive (Marshon Lattimore) player of the year last season.
Why they could suck: Injuries or Father Time could conquer Brees.
Major additions: Strong slot cornerback Patrick Robinson, wide receiver Cameron Meredith, linebacker Demario Davis and first-round rookie pass-rusher Marcus Davenport, safety Kurt Coleman.
Major losses: Safety Kenny Vaccaro, guard Senio Kelemete.
Breakout watch: The defense was suddenly strong in 2017, but it can really take off if third-year first-round pick Sheldon Rankins can finally start delivering at defensive tackle. He certainly has a lot of support with Alex Okafor back from injury opposite star defensive end Cameron Jordan.
Position to watch: The secondary could be great, but that’s if safety Marcus Williams isn’t traumatized by his gaffe on the soul-crushing catch linked above, if he and Lattimore can avoid sophomore slumps and if Robinson wasn’t a one-year wonder with the Eagles last season. Lots of questions back there.
Prediction: The Saints might not be quite as talented as the Rams, Vikings or Eagles, but they make up for that at the quarterback position. Quietly in 2017, Brees set a new NFL record with a completion percentage of 72.0 while also leading the league in yards per attempt (8.1) and posting the league’s second-highest passer rating (103.9). He was also the league’s best quarterback under pressure, and he led the NFL with 72 20-yard completions (nobody else had more than 62). He’s mastered the craft, and he’ll put them over the top in a Super Bowl season, possibly before walking away. Just watch!
13-3, 1st place in the NFC South