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New Orleans Saints Betting Predictions – Saints Look To Overcome Loss Of Payton, Vilma

Posted by Tony Bryant on 7/6/2012 2:50:01 PM

The New Orleans Saints have suffered through an absolutely devastating offseason, going from a model NFL franchise to one that is dealing with more questions than answers. From the Bountygate Scandal to Drew Brees’ ongoing contract mess, the Saints appear to be in complete disarray with camp set to open over the next couple of weeks, with little in the way of optimism. Signing Brees to an extension and getting him to camp will be among the keys to getting the culture back on track in New Orleans. With Brees leading the offense, and new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo leading the defense, the Saints could surprise as they try to overcome the sports betting loss of suspended head coach Sean Payton and linebacker Jonathan Vilma.

Head Coach: Joe Vitt (Interim)
Offensive Coordinator: Pete Carmichael Jr.
Defensive Coordinator: Steve Spagnuolo
Owner: Tom Benson
Stadium: Mercedes Benz-Superdome
Capacity: 73,000
Super Bowl Wins: 1

Offense

Brees threw for an NFL record 5,476 passing yards last season, as well as a league-leading 46 touchdowns compared to just 14 interceptions. With the offensive line back intact, Brees will have plenty of opportunities to spread the ball around to some of the best targets in the game, including tight end Jimmy Graham and wide receiver Marques Colston, who combined for close to 1,500 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns in 2011. Running back Darren Sproles was the perfect addition to the offense, where he can make plays both catching and running the ball, and fellow back Pierre Thomas is the perfect workhorse compliment. The Saints added wide receiver Nick Toon in the draft, but he could find it hard to get touches right away as he learns the offense behind one of the best betting online receiving scores in the league.

Grade: A +

Defense

The Saints are really going to miss Vilma’s 54 tackles from a year ago, but the hope is that free agent addition Curtis Lofton can help ease the pain after coming over from Atlanta. Lofton is quick, strong, and drives hard to the ball, and his leadership will be an asset for Spagnuolo. New Orleans used its third-round pick on defensive tackle Akiem Hicks out of Canada, and he will look to push for time behind Brodrick Bunkley, Sedrick Ellis, and Remi Ayodele. Defensive end Will Smith is back in the mix, but the Saints are really going to need another pass rusher to emerge on the other side and help take the pressure off the veteran Smith. Jabrari Greer is the only cornerback on the roster over 25-years old, illustrating how young the Saints’ secondary is. Greer will be pushed by Elbert Mack and Marquis Johnson, and one of them could earn a starting spot. New Orleans likes what it has with Malcolm Jenkins at safety rather than corner, and it will be interesting to see if Roman Harper is back next to him as the other half of the starting duo.

Grade:

Special Teams

Kicker John Kasay remains automatic on field goal attempts within 40 yards, and the Saints will likely keep Garrett Hartley on to spell him on long distance kicks and kickoffs, with punter Thomas Morestead back in the fold as well. In addition to his work on offense, Sproles was a home run threat every time he touched the ball in the return game, and compiled over 1,000 yards and the sportsbook team’s only return touchdown on special teams.

Grade: B +

Prediction

The Saints have dealt with a lot this past offseason, but the biggest thing will still be getting Brees signed to an extension and bringing back the league’s top-ranked pass offense intact. Spagnuolo will have his hands full trying to get the defense going on the right track, especially without Vilma, but there are some weapons there for him to use in his first season. This New Orleans’ team has shown its perseverance in the past, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they came right out again this year and fought their way to another division title.

Projected Record: 11-5 (First in NFC South)

2012 Schedule

Week 1 – vs. Washington (1:00 PM ET)
Week 2 – at Carolina (1:00 PM ET)
Week 3 – vs. Kansas City (1:00 PM ET)
Week 4 – at Green Bay (4:25 PM ET)
Week 5 – vs. San Diego (8:20 PM ET)
Week 6 – BYE WEEK
Week 7 – at Tampa Bay (1:00 PM ET)
Week 8 – at Denver (8:20 PM ET)
Week 9 – vs. Philadelphia (Monday, 8:30 PM ET)
Week 10 – vs. Atlanta (1:00 PM ET)
Week 11 – at Oakland (4:05 PM ET)
Week 12 – vs. San Francisco (4:25 PM ET)
Week 13 – at Atlanta (Thursday, 8:20 PM ET)
Week 14 – at New York (4:25 PM ET)
Week 15 – vs. Tampa Bay (1:00 PM ET)
Week 16 – at Dallas (1:00 PM ET)
Week 17 – vs. Carolina (1:00 PM ET)


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