Second Quarter: 3-1
The Saints open the second quarter of the season with the Washington Redskins in the Superdome for a Monday Night Football game. Washington will be looking for their new identity with Alex Smith at QB. The home guys staged a strong comeback to beat the ‘Skins last season. Washington will want revenge but I think the Saints will stay strong, and take an undefeated record into the bye. Also to note, this game will mark the return of Mark Ingram to the lineup. A completely fresh and ready Ingram is an advantage for us here.
Coming out in Week 7, the Saints face a Baltimore Ravens team that has the attention of more than a few people. Word is Joe Flacco is looking better than normal and they have placed some pieces to the puzzle. I think this game means something to Sean Payton and Drew Brees though. This is the only team the Saints have not beaten in the Payton/Brees era. In fact, this is the team the Saints have the overall worst win percentage against, having only won once in six games against Baltimore. They will know that and play accordingly to secure a victory.
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Here’s where it gets fun. The Saints will return to the scene of the crime – headed back to Minneapolis, where our dreams died hard last season. The Vikings feel they’ve solidified their offense with Kirk Cousins, and their defense is still good, so this will be a tough matchup. I want to feel like since the Saints should have and could have won last season, they will be up for the challenge. And they are familiar with Kirk Cousins from their meeting last year. But this one could go either way.
Speaking of going either way, we get to host a team many have pegged as one of the top three in the NFC, the Los Angeles Rams. This is the Rams team that went from little to contender in one season. They have since added a lot of high priced top-notch talent, particularly on defense, to solidify that team. The question for this Rams team is can a young coach get all those egos to gel. It’s a strong mid-season checkup for the Saints and Rams, with the winner possibly having an inside track to the NFC Championship and/or home field advantage.
The Saints will have a tough time with the Vikings and Rams, though they get the Rams at home. I feel that these two games back to back, could produce at least one loss. I won’t pick which one, and I’d love to be completely wrong and we win both. But if there were a couple of losses this season, it wouldn’t surprise me to find them here.