Third Quarter: 3-1
After the bye week, the Saints return to action with four consecutive division games. If there is any position to this, it does come right after the bye and the only short week of that stretch is the last one.
We begin the second half with Atlanta at home, followed by Tampa Bay in Tampa, Carolina at home, and Atlanta again on a Thursday night, Thanksgiving, in Atlanta. We can think of these all as a group because division games are different from other games. These are teams you are very familiar with and have a history with.
Atlanta is at a crossroads. They have new coordinators (including head coach Dan Quinn running the defense) and injuries really doomed them last season. They need to make the playoffs or Quinn’s job could be in jeopardy.
Carolina is another team with issues. Cam Newton is coming off a tough shoulder injury. He looked OK in the small preseason action he got, but I still don’t see as much fire in that arm as before.
Their receivers are just OK, and they will again rely heavily on Christian McCaffery to do too much. And we already will have faced Tampa Bay.
This Saints team is better than all those teams but, in the division, records and who’s better goes out the window. Each of these teams has the ability to beat us. That said, I think we come through well, with only one loss (likely the Thanksgiving game on a short week).
I will say I won’t be surprised at all if we lost 2 in this stretch, but I’m sticking with one loss.