Nov 10, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrates as he leaves the field following a win over the Dallas Cowboys at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Cowboys 49-17. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Season Thoughts & Predictions
Best Case Scenario: The Saints finish with at least a 12-win season, sweep the NFC South, and earn Home Field Advantage throughout the playoffs.
Worst Case Scenario: Injuries plague the Saints, the team falls into a hole early in the season, and have to fight for a Wild Card spot in the final weeks, unable to control their own destiny.
Record Prediction: 12-4
Team MVP Nominee: Drew Brees– He’s meant the world to the city of New Orleans since entering the scene in 2006.
Offensive MVP: Drew Brees – One simply does not overlook one of the league’s best quarterbacks for the past decade. Brees is going to flirt with another consecutive 5,000 yard season, and with an improved offensive line and the addition of weapons, you can easily bet on Brees.
Offensive Sleeper: Mark Ingram – It’s a contract year for Ingram, and he’s displayed a better overall running style lately. I’m not saying Ingram will be the team’s first 1,000-yard back since Deuce McAllister in 2006, but there’s a huge chance Ingram helps the Saints return to championship form by helping the run game average over 100 yards/game.
Defensive MVP: Kenny Vaccaro – It’s not that I believe that the addition of Jairus Byrd should be downplayed, or the fact that the sack artists (Cameron Jordan & Junior Galette) should be overlooked. I believe Vaccaro is going to be all over the place in 2014, and he’s going to be a turnover creating machine, similiar to what Charles ‘Peanut’ Tillman does so well for the Chicago Bears.
Defensive Sleeper: Akiem Hicks – Sack artists Junior Galette and Cam Jordan will have their hands full with drawing double teams, which in turn could benefit Hicks the most. He’s a strong bet for a breakout, and could finish with double-digit sacks when it’s all said and done.
Rookie MVP: Brandin Cooks – He’s the real deal, folks. Look for him to be involved a lot with the Saints’ offense. He’s easily the impact rookie for the team, and is an early candidate for Rookie of the Year.
Most Intriguing Game: Cleveland Browns – Week 2 is a good litmus test for both teams, as the Browns are much improved this season, and the Saints will be coming off of a huge game against the Atlanta Falcons. This is not a ‘gimme’ game by any means.
Most Anticipated Game: San Francisco 49ers – It’s time to settle the events of the past two games, which were split between the 49ers and Saints. This will be at the Superdome for the third consecutive season, and we should see a highly entertaining affair.
Game You Won’t Forget: Baltimore Ravens – It’s the only team that Drew Brees has not defeated. This will be a Monday Night Football game, and the octane will run extremely high here.
Be sure to check out my 2014 Ranking the Saints’ Games article. Overall, this feels as good of a year as any for the Saints to go deep in the playoffs. Coach Sean Payton and company had another ‘normal’ offseason, and should find his pairing with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan successful.