Saints couldn’t possibly disappoint more than they did in 2021….could they?

Michael Thomas #13 of the New Orleans Saints (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Michael Thomas #13 of the New Orleans Saints (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

No one would question that the New Orleans Saints are better off in 2022 than they were in 2021. So why might they still disappoint?

A famous poet once wrote that expectation is the root of all heartache, and that quote applies to nearly everyone from die-hard Jets fans to arrogant Cowboys fans who declare, “This is our year,” year after year. At some point, you just have to accept that it is not your year.

The Saints have made crucial strides to improving their roster this season, picking up solid defensive pieces in Marcus Maye and Tyrann Mathieu and then overhauling its offense by drafting Chris Olave and bringing on veteran Jarvis Landry.

The offensive core of the team, arguably found in Jameis Winston, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas, poses as a lethal threat on paper, but plenty of questions loom overhead.

NFL Spin Zone’s Sayre Bedinger listed five NFL teams that would definitely disappoint fans in 2022 and included the new-look Saints:

"The Saints could be one of the more underrated teams in the NFL this season but the combination of losing Sean Payton, breaking in a rookie left tackle, Jameis Winston coming off of injury, and playing in the same division as Tom Brady?I think they’re poised to disappoint in 2022."

New Orleans Saints have extreme bust-or-boom potential in 2022

The concerns raised in the article are valid: Winston remains an unproven starter at quarterback, Dennis Allen isn’t made of the same winning DNA as Sean Payton, and fans shouldn’t pin their hopes on the revamped offense yet, not when it consists of X-factors like Michael Thomas, Trevor Penning, and the pending suspension of Alvin Kamara.

What would disappointment even look like for the Saints in 2022? Few expect the Saints to topple the mighty Bucs, so finishing anywhere below second in the NFC South would be pretty pitiful. As for punching a ticket to the postseason, much of the team’s potential success rests on Winston’s shoulders. If he performs as well as he did in 2021, the Saints could easily saunter into the playoffs; if he has a down year comparable to his last season in Tampa, the Saints could easily finish with a losing record and be forced to go back to the drawing board.

Apart from a few questionable moves like signing Daniel Sorensen, NOLA did everything right this offseason. The Saints are poised to be a better all-around team than they were last year, but that doesn’t automatically translate to success or a winning record. Sean Payton fought like hell to keep the team afloat in 2021, and should the team experience a slump mid-season, there’s no telling that Dennis Allen can do the same.

Next. Saints 53-man roster prediction before 2022 training camp kicks off. dark

So yes, given that expectations for this team are a bit higher than that of last season, the Saints, with all their moving pieces, could very well disappoint fans in 2022. As they say, hope for the best and prepare for the worst.