Saints Attempt to Bounce Back as Sean Peyton Returns
The New Orleans Saints had a tough 2012 season without head coach Sean Peyton. Peyton had to miss a year because of the Bounty Gate scandal in which players were placing sports bets on injuring players. 2013 is a new year now and with a core of the main pieces returning the Saints should improve and be one of the top teams in the NFC South once again.
The offense for the Saints hinges on the play of Drew Brees. Brees has been one of the top quarterbacks in the league the past few seasons and coming off a year in which he threw for 5,177 yards he proved he is still an MVP contender. Joining Brees on offense is veteran Marques Colson who had over 1,000 receiving yards in 2012 for the fourth straight season. Colston figures to once again be a favorite target of Brees now that he is his only offensive weapon. Sport gamblers shouldn’t be too excited about the running back battle in which Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, and Darren Sproles are all competing for the starting job. While the running game will likely be slacking this year, Brees and Co. should throw the ball all over the field and be one of the top passing offenses yet again.
The Saints improved their defense with the draft as they took safety Kenny Vaccaro out of Texas with their first pick. While the Saints had one of the toughest offenses in the league, they paired that with one of the worst defenses and finished the year giving up over 440 yards per game, worst in the NFL. While Vaccaro won’t make a huge impact his rookie season, the drafting of him proves the Saints are concerned with their defense, as they should, and are attempting to make it better. The Saints mainly lacked in their ability to rush the quarterback as their leading sack getter, Cameron Jordan, had just eight of the teams total 30 sacks, a number which needs to improve in 2013.
If Sproles doesn’t win the starting running back job he still can rely on his return abilities to make an impact. Sproles is a small player who is quick and can make tacklers miss which helped him average eight yards per return as the teams main punt returner. Because Travaris Cadet returned the majority of kickoffs last season it is tough to tell how many opportunities Sproles will have returning the ball.
The New Orleans Saints aren’t a legitimate sports book Super Bowl pick just yet. They have yet to prove their offense can be as high powered with minimal weapons, and their defense must improve drastically if they hope to win consistently. Brees will have another top of the line season as long as he can stay healthy and in a wide open NFC South the Saints have a shot at making it back to the postseason.
2013 Prediction: 7-9, 3rd in NFC South