The New Orleans Saints made plenty of roster changes this offseason, and their 2022 squad on paper already looks more stronger than their 2021 one. Yet why do some NFL pundits still think NOLA will fail?
NFL Network’s Adam Rank recently predicted that the Saints would finish with a 8-9 record in the NFC South, likely missing the postseason yet again.
Rank made his pick for each of the Saints’ season games, and some of his forecasts indeed made sense. The Saints face a particularly tough stretch from Week 9 to Week 14, and Rank believed they would lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Rams, and the San Francisco 49ers.
That gives them a 6-7 record heading into the BYE, after which the Saints also lose to the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles.
Part of the reason Rank is so low on the Saints is likely due to the coaching transition: without Sean Payton at the helm, Dennis Allen may struggle to string together wins against seemingly easy teams and the team may find itself in a hole it can’t get out of.
Yet promoting Dennis Allen was widely regarded as a smart move for the franchise, as it passes down the torch to someone already very familiar with the team and who is beloved and respected by players.
NOLA Saints predicted to finish the 2022 season with a disappointing 8-9 record
Despite Allen’s comparative lack of head coaching experience, he arguably deserves this position more than anybody and ushers in a new and hopeful era.
We’re not so high on the Saints that we think they’re going to the Super Bowl, but we do think Allen and the team can at least achieve a winning record given the Saints’ top-10 defense and much improved offensive squad.
Yes, Jameis Winston carries with him a fair amount of concern due to his spotty past, but he has dark horse MVP potential and could enjoy his most productive season to date. As long as he stays healthy, Winston presents a huge upgrade from the likes of Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian and should be able to rally the offense together to beat Trubisky’s Steelers, Darnold’s Panthers, and Hurts’ Eagles, each of whom Rank believes will beat the Saints.
And don’t forget that NOLA’s wideout trio of Chris Olave, Michael Thomas, and Jarvis Landry is already leaps and bounds more talented than last year’s starters — compared to 2021, this Saints offense actually looks dangerous and efficient, and NOLA shouldn’t have nearly as much trouble driving down the field in 2022.
All in all, Rank’s gloomy prediction feels very off-base to us, and not just because we’re a little biased. The 2022 Saints team has made crucial strides to fixing roster issues and generating more stability, and this upcoming season their investments should pay off big time.