From the moment key free-agent signing Victor Butler went down early this offseason, I began wondering exactly how the New Orleans Saints defense might claw its way out of historic ineptitude. Little did I know this injury was an omen, as basically anyone who even mentions that they play in the Saints’ front-seven has entered the screenplay for Final Destination IX.
I thought new Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan did a fairly good job with an injury riddled defense in Dallas last year but a good coaching job won’t cut it with a unit that was already so thin and porous in so many spots. It could very well keep New Orleans out of the postseason for a second consecutive year.
Certainly, the return of Coach Sean Payton from that absurd Bountygate suspension can be reason alone to slate New Orleans for yet another wild-card berth or NFC South title. It’s hard to argue against what this offense pulled off in 2011, entering the divisional round among the Super Bowl favorites even with a paper-thin defense. Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Darren Sproles, a healthy Jimmy Graham and a perennially deep backfield are enough ammo for Payton to cook up a terrifying opponent.
However, I’m going to bet against it — not confidently, but I’m just having trouble reconciling the Saints’ defensive deficiencies; in an NFC landscape that is much more brutal than it was two years ago.
Predicted Regular Season Record: 8-8 (3rd in NFC South)
Predicted Finish: Miss postseason