The New Orleans Saints will brace for a division-filled second half of the season that could also be largely altered by the unknown.
This is the second installment of the Saints season preview and prediction. In my previous piece, I have the Saints at 6-2 through the halfway point of the season. Let’s see how they play out the string.
The Saints begin the second half of their season with a tough stretch of games. Week 10 has the Saints hosting last season’s NFC Super Bowl representative, the San Francisco 49ers. Last season, this was a feature game.
Had the Saints won this game, they would have likely continued on to have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. A couple of ill-timed mistakes cost the Saints dearly in their heartbreaking 48-46 loss. So the Saints look to avenge their defeat last season.
They’ve taken one of the Niners’ weapons from them, signing receiver Emmanuel Sanders who caught a long TD pass and threw a TD pass in our defeat. That a receiver threw a TD pass shows that the Niners were pulling out all the stops in this one to beat us.
These are two well-matched teams, and honestly, this is kind of a pick’em game. The Niners kicked a FG with two seconds on the clock to win the last one. It could look much the same this season, one way or another.
New Orleans doesn’t get a breather after this tough match. We return the following Sunday to host our rivals, the Atlanta Falcons. There is no denying the Saints have really done well against the Falcons recently, winning 4 of the last 5 meetings.
But that one loss cost us dearly last season. Coming off the bye week, the Saints first faced the Falcons at home. In an everything-that-can-go-wrong-will type scenario, the Saints had 12 penalties for 90 yards and only rushed for 52 yards in the game.
Brees was sacked 6 times and the Saints simply played their worst game of the season.
The Black and Gold did rally to beat the Falcons later in the season. There is no sugar-coating this – the Saints/Falcons games are always among the toughest of the season. New Orleans will need two weeks of laser focus to get through this section of schedule.
After two weeks at home, the Saints hike to the Rocky Mountains for a matchup with the Denver Broncos.
Denver has struggled in the last few seasons, despite having some talented skill players. They were a 7-9 team last year but will be coming in remembering that their only loss in the last 5 games of the season was to the eventual Super Bowl champions.
Weather is always a question mark in Denver and could be a factor. But not having superstar edge rusher Von Miller could be a factor as well. Saints win this one on the road, hopefully not in the snow.
Week 13 has the Saints on the road in Atlanta. Yes, two meetings with the Falcons in two weeks. This 4-week stretch might be the toughest, even though only one team in this stretch was a playoff team last season.
Atlanta will have the advantage of playing at home, and even though they may not be allowed to have as many fans due to coronavirus restrictions, it shouldn’t be much different than any other home games (sorry, this was my one shameless dig at ATL).
They will be running out in new uniforms this season. And if they have a similar year to last, they will be running out behind a new coach the following season.
Quarter Three record: 2-2
I don’t like this stretch of schedule.
The Saints too often split with the Falcons, and the 49ers are formidable. Throw in a trip to Denver, and you have a tough stretch of games. The Saints can win all four of these, but they could also lose 3 of them. I’m hedging here on 2 losses, being real.