Bold prediction for New Orleans Saints 2018 Season
By Tony Twillie
Fourth Quarter: 3-1
This one is tough. I’d love to give this quarter 4-0. But there is a reality here. The Saints will play two division games in the first three weeks of the season, and then not another for two months. They finish the season with four division matchups in their last six games. These are the teams you are most familiar with and, regardless the fact that you overmatch them on paper, the games are tough on the field.
We start the final quarter of the season with Tampa Bay in Tampa. Much of this will depend on where the Bucs are come this point in the season. If they are already out of contention, they tend to not put out as much effort. I’ll call this a win.
We play the Carolina Panthers for the first time this season in NFL Week 15, highly unusual. This is a Monday night matchup, our second of the year. It’s on the road, and that’s not an easy place to win for the Saints (we are 3-3 in our last six matchups at Carolina). I have a rough feeling about this one. We may not get out of there with a win.
We follow that up on a short-ish week with the Pittsburgh Steelers. This Steelers team will likely be looking towards the playoffs at this point. They will come in likely featuring two of the top skill players in the league in Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. This is a tough team. But the Saints match up well with them, holding a slight all-time lead over them, and having won their last two meetings. I’m going with a Black and Gold win over black and yellow.
We finish the season at home again against Carolina. Once again, the nature of the game is that it’s difficult to beat the teams you’re most familiar with. But I’m going on a limb here. The Saints will be playing for home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and – more importantly – a first round bye. I have them having three losses by this point. They will play to win this one to get that first round bye.
I have the Saints going 13-3 this season. That’s not the ceiling for this team and that’s a great thing. They only face two teams that pre-season on paper might be better than them. But we don’t play games on paper. Injuries happen. Odd things occur. Teams that aren’t supposed to be good end up being better than expected.
We could lose four games; maybe even five (doubtful). But this Saints team is a playoff team. A deep run playoff team. They have all the ingredients, it’s simply a matter of letting the gumbo cook. Not only is this my solid and fair prediction for this season, I’m hopeful this will be a repeatable prediction for a few more seasons.