2015 New Orleans Saints Preview

5 of 5

Sep 7, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) fumbles the ball after a hit by New Orleans Saints free safety Jairus Byrd (31) in the first half of their game at the Georgia Dome. The Saints recovered the ball in the end zone. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Fourth Quarter Record:  2-2

Week 14:  It seems like every year the Saints drop a game in an upset to a team they should easily sweep.  That looks to be the case for their Week 14 meeting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers away from home.  At this point in the season I have the Saints at a 7-5 record and Tampa Bay at 3-9 after getting an upset of Atlanta the week before at Raymond James Stadium.  The Buccaneers are very likely to hit their stride late in the season when their many rookie and free agent additions gel together under new quarterback Jameis Winston’s lead, and that could be enough to surprise the Saints if they start getting too comfortable.  Final score:  27-24, Saints lose.

Week 15:  The Saints’ last scheduled primetime game is against the Detroit Lions in Week 15.  This should be a huge game in regards to NFC playoff seeding, as the Saints can’t afford a misstep with the Atlanta Falcons nipping at their heels and Minnesota racing with Detroit for a wild card spot.  Both teams should play the hearts out with volatile offenses and desperate defenses on display.  I think that Detroit is a better team than New Orleans, but the homefield advantage should be enough to give the Saints an edge on national television.  Final score:  31-30, Saints win.

Week 16:  The Jacksonville Jaguars have been slowly and admirably improving their roster in recent years.  They have built a tenacious defensive line, a solid group of receiving options, and a promising franchise quarterback in Blake Bortles.  But their team is still rife with weaknesses and they shouldn’t be a problem for New Orleans at home this late in the season.  Final Score:  33-14, Saints win.

Week 17:  The last week of the regular season sees the New Orleans Saints traveling to Atlanta for their final divisional game of 2015.  I have the Atlanta Falcons finishing strong in Dan Quinn’s first year as head coach with a three-game winning streak.  Their defense is filled with young players who need time to get comfortable in their assignments and working together, which typically turns into late-season rises.  I fully expect the Saints to compete hard and a victory is very possible against an Atlanta Falcons offense that is still missing some vital pieces on the offensive line.  But they should split the series with Atlanta this year.  Final score:  24-20, Saints lose.

Projected Win/Loss Record:  9-7 (.563), first in the division.  Things should start off roughly for the New Orleans Saints in 2015.  Five of their first seven opponents are teams that went to last year’s playoffs.  They don’t play back-to-back home games until Weeks 8 and 9, and they see a tough stretch of three games in 11 days from Week 4 (when they play Dallas on Sunday night) to 5 (traveling to Philadelphia) and ending in 6 (hosting Atlanta on Thursday night).  But things should pick up before the Week 11 bye and carry them through a winning streak.  There are a few divisional games that are always tough and physical at the end of the schedule, but the Saints are easily the most balanced team in the NFC South and have the best chances of winning the division in 2015.  Whether or not they will be competitive in the playoffs is up in the air right now, but any team can win on any given Sunday.

Did you like this article?  What are some things you want to see that I didn’t talk about?  What kinds of Saints-related content do you want to see from me in the future?  Drop me a line on Twitter for updates and notes about all things New Orleans Saints football.