3. The Saints’ defense will regress slightly
Starting the list off on a good note, aren’t we?
Despite all the moves the Saints have made this offseason, we think New Orleans’ defense will suffer ever so slightly. It’s difficult to stay at the top, anyhow.
The Saints’ defense saw Malcolm Jenkins and Marcus Williams leave the team for different reasons, and the team arguably did the best they could to replace them. NOLA recently signed star safety Tyrann Mathieu in free agency and also brought on Marcus Maye earlier this year, two very productive defensive playmakers with the potential to revolutionize the pass defense.
New Orleans still has key defenders in Marshon Lattimore and C.J. Gardner Johnson in the backfield, but losing the two players who played the most defensive snaps in 2021 is bound to hurt the team, at least a little.
Dennis Allen and his team of defensive masterminds can tinker all they want with the starting lineup but Mathieu and Maye will likely need time to adjust to the scheme, not to mention Maye hasn’t recovered to full health yet.
And to be fair, the bar is set astronomically high. Allen’s defenses have tanked in the top-ten in yards per game and in the top-five in opponent points per game in each of the past two seasons. Those nine wins from 2021 were achieved primarily through an elite, resolute, and unshakeable team defense, one that will enter this season without two of its shining stars.
The Mathieu and Maye signings help prevent the Saints’ defensive production from falling off a cliff, but we expect an overall decrease nonetheless.