The New Orleans Saints return to action in the 2018 season in a bid to bounce back following their devastating last-second defeat to the Minnesota Vikings in the playoffs.
The Saints looked destined for the NFC Championship Game with 10 seconds remaining in the contest at US Bank Stadium. The Vikings needed to drive 61 yards to get into range for a field goal or a game-winning touchdown.
Case Keenum threw up a prayer down the right side of the field. Stefon Diggs made the catch above Ken Crawley, while Saints safety Marcus Williams failed to make the covering tackle. Diggs ran in for the score to eliminate Sean Payton’s side.
Saints owner Tom Benson passed away during the off-season, leaving the franchise in the hands of his wife Gayle Benson. The team remains in a strong position under the leadership of Payton, while he maintained the staff that was present last season.
There have been a few additions through the draft and free agency. However, the Saints priority was to keep the roster that won the NFC South last term more or less intact. With Drew Brees approaching the age of 40, the window is running out for the club to win a second Super Bowl with the future Hall of Famer.
With Brees in the offense, the Saints will remain one of the most potent units in the NFL. The 39-year-old has been a truly outstanding quarterback during his career. He goes slightly under-the-radar due to the presence of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. After them there’s no quarterback that teams would rather have than Brees. His deadly accuracy has been the foundation of the Saints’ offense since his arrival in New Orleans in 2006.
At times the club have placed too much of a burden on his shoulders, propping up their ailing defense. However, Payton appears to have finally surrounded his star man with enough talent to ease the pressure on his arm in crucial situations. New Orleans played extremely well down the stretch, including a fine performance from Brees against the Vikings’ vaunted defense. If he can remain at that level as he approaches the age of 40.
Alvin Kamara was one of the breakout stars of the 2017 season, being named offensive rookie of the year. The rookie put in amazing displays out of the backfield, running the ball through the tackles and catching out of the backfield. He displayed the athleticism and nous in the open field to find the endzone with ease at times. Expectations will be through the roof for the running back in his second term to build on his outstanding level of production to become a truly elite player.
Michael Thomas has proven to be another rising star in the NFL. The Saints have drafted well on offense in the early rounds over the past few years. Thomas stacked up an impressive second term, building on his rookie season, surpassing 1,000 yards in both campaigns. The 25-year-old was named to the Pro Bowl last season. He has become Brees’ favourite target and will once again be a force in the 2018 campaign. If Brees, Kamara and Thomas are firing on all cylinders – watch out for the Saints.
For too many seasons the Saints’ defense held the team back. Under Dennis Allen they are beginning to trend in the right direction. Cameron Jordan is a superstar on the defensive line, and he was a true force in the 2017 season and played a vital role in defeating the Carolina Panthers in the Wildcard Round at the SuperDome. The 29-year-old notched a career-high 13 sacks last term, setting the tone with ferocious play off the edge.
He has become the leader of the defense and a huge part in turning the tide from the porous units of the last decade. Jordan is in the prime of his career and he should be in line for another impressive campaign. New Orleans have depth on their defensive line, with Alex Okafor, Trey Hendrickson and 2018 first-round pick Marcus Davenport operating alongside the Pro Bowler.
There’s no outstanding player in the linebacking corps, which could be the weakness of the unit. Manti Te’o and Demario Davis are solid players, but no-one will mistake them for Luke Kuechly or Deion Jones in the NFC South. The linebackers only need to play their roles as there is enough surrounding talent on the defensive line and in the secondary for the Saints to mask their deficiencies.
Marshon Lattimore is the outstanding player in the secondary. The cornerback was extremely impressive in his rookie season, earning a Pro Bowl nod. He blanketed elite wide receivers, limiting their effectiveness across the field. Lattimore has the potential to become the best player at his position in the NFL, and could be an outside candidate for defensive player of the year. Williams needs to bounce back from his mistake against the Vikings. His progress this term could define the rest of his career. If the unit plays around Lattimore, then there should be few problems ahead of them in 2018.
The Saints won the NFC South last season with an 11-5 record. That could be their level once again this term, although the Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons will push them all the way. The offensive talent could lift them above their rivals in the division.
Back them at odds of +145 with Bookmaker to win the NFC South. Given the experience and strength of their side, back the club to win the NFC Conference at odds of +1000 with BetOnline. The Saints have not reached the Super Bowl since the 2009 campaign when they won the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Take them to clinch the crown again at odds of +1600 with TopBet. The Saints should have no problems qualifying for the playoffs at -133 and winning over 10 matches at -125 with 888Sport.
Brees has led the league in passing seven times in his career. He didn’t last season, but he could bounce back this term at odds of +500 with Bookmaker. Should he achieve that feat, the 39-year-old will be in line for the MVP award, which he has yet to win. Take him at +1600 at BetOnline to win the prize. Back him to throw over 4,476 passing yards at -120 and 27 touchdowns at -130 .
Thomas has been a model of consistency since arriving in the NFL. The line of 1,200 yards is an intriguing one, but take him on the over at -115 and along with over seven touchdowns -115 at BetOnline. With those sort of numbers he could lead the league in receiving yards at +1529 with Bookmaker. The other part of the Saints’ offense, Kamara had an outstanding rookie term. The question is will he kick on? Back him to record over 900 rushing yards at -115 and over 13 touchdowns at -120 with BetOnline. He may not get enough carries to get the rushing crown, but the value of +5000 with Bookmaker.
Jordan and Lattimore are the two names to watch on defense. The former comes in at +2500 , while the cornerback has odds of +4000 – both have good value at BetOnline.
New Orleans Saints To Win NFC South
New Orleans Saints To Win NFC Championship
New Orleans Saints To Win Super Bowl
New Orleans Saints To Reach The Playoffs
New Orleans Saints To Win Over 10 Matches
Cameron Jordan To Be Defensive Player Of The Year
Marshon Lattimore To Be Defensive Player Of The Year
Drew Brees To Be NFL MVP
Drew Brees To Lead NFL In Passing Yards
Drew Brees To Throw Over 4,476 Passing Yards
Drew Brees To Throw Over 27 Touchdowns
Alvin Kamara To Rush For Over 900 Yards
Alvin Kamara To Record Over 13 Touchdowns
Alvin Kamara To Be NFL Rushing Leader
Michael Thomas To Record Over 1,200 Receiving Yards
Michael Thomas To Record Over Seven Touchdowns
Michael Thomas To Lead NFL In Receiving Yards
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