Will the New Orleans Saints Be A Force To Contend With In 2009, Five Bold Predictions Say Yes
By Keith Null
It’s hard not to get excited about the Saints chances this season, thus far they are 3-0 in the pre-season and they lead all NFL teams in yardage (424) and points per game (33.3).
Did I mention they are also tied for second in takeaways (9) and rush yards per game (163.7). The Saints tied for second in the entire NFL, call Mr. Benson now because I am going to smack him right in the mouth!
I do realize it’s the pre-season and so what, those of you keen to point out that fact simply are upset because it is not your team pulling down these stats, admit it already and shut up.
It may be the pre-seas0n but these type of stats make it hard to argue that the Saints aren’t getting it done on both sides of the ball. They aren’t just winning games, they are utterly obliterating teams in games that should be called a no contest, seriously.
As any loyal Saint fan will do, I am going to make five predictions for the Saints 2009 season and we will see what happens from there.
1. The Saints will win the NFC South and secure a playoff berth.
That’s right folks, it will happen on pure logistics alone. No team in the South has improved as much as the Saints, the Falcons acquired Gonzalez but lost some key defensive players, Carolina has a Delhomme that’s wildly inconsistent and the Buccaneers lost a DC, HC, and are starting Byron Leftwich. Enough said.
2. The Saints will win double-digit games in ’09.
After the statement above it should come as no surprise that I say New Orleans will clean out the division, sweeping the Falcons and the Buccaneers while splitting the two game series against the Panthers. The leaves them with a 5-1 record inside their own division and with games against Detroit, St.Louis, Buffalo, NY Jets and Dallas (In December) it’s not that hard to get into double digits.
3. The Saints defense will rank in the top fifteen or better in the NFL.
This is a hard to get by most people, but hey I’m a forward thinker. In three pre-season games the Saints have held their opponents to 38 combined points while forcing nine turnovers, are third in scoring defense (9.3) and first in rushing defense (70.7) yards per game. This all with a rather vanilla scheme and limited interaction from the first team defense. Williams is no dummy and he hasn’t begun to tip his hands to rival teams yet, expect exotic blitz packages and more aggressive schemes to come as they can only get better from here.
4. A running back by committee approach will be the norm next season with Bush, Thomas, and Bell toting the rock, ranking among the league elite.
The last time the Saints were anywhere near competent on the ground was in 2006 with a healthy McAllister and the healthiest Bush has ever been. New Orleans ranked 19th in total rush offense then averaging 101 yards per game. Now in 2009 with McAllister gone and Bush obviously not capable of being an every down back there will be a renewed focus on sharing carries. Thomas burst on the scene late last season totaling 625 yards and nine touchdowns while Bell, the darling of camp this year, came out busting heads against Houston totaling 100 yards on 10 carries. As long as Bush stays healthy he possesses the ability to be the games biggest threat which can be rivaled by no other player in the game today. Each back will near or eclipse the thousand yard mark, bank on it.
5. Drew Brees, Jeremy Shockey, Pierre Thomas, Marques Colston and a slew of other Saints players will make the Pro-Bowl.
I think the Saints will have a strong showing at the Pro-Bowl this year, including several defensive players which are a rarity. Drew is a lock to make it and Shockey is going to post monster numbers this season. Colston who has been unfairly shunned from the big show in ’06 and ’07 will finally break through with a season no one can ignore. After an impressive 2009 campaign (eclipsing 1000 yards w/double digit touchdowns I remind you) Thomas will get the nod for Miami. McCray, Vilma, and Porter make the trip as well and none more deserving than McCray who will post double digit sack totals in 2009.
There you have it, five predictions for a stellar 2009 season and one Saints fans everywhere are long overdue for.
No fan in the NFL has had to endure more than a Saints fan, no fan has been continually let down like a Saints fan, and no fan loves it’s team like a Saints fan.
I cant remember when there has been so much anticipation for an upcoming season. You can sense it, you can feel it, and you just know that something special is on it’s way.
Can you feel it Who Dats? I sure can.
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