After losing in the divisional playoffs to the Seahawks at Century Link Field last season the New Orleans Saints go into this season as one of the favourites for the Superbowl. Can they do it though?
Key Man : Jimmy Graham
Along with Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham is one of two tight ends in the NFL who is simply dominant in his position. In terms of pure talent I would say that the Patriots tight end is just about the better player but Jimmy Graham is less injury prone so will likely outscore Gronkowski.
Essentially, at 6'7'' tall and 265 pounds, it is pretty much impossible to stop Graham catching a ball that his thrown to him. Last season the tight end received for 1,215 yards and 15 touchdowns at an average of 14.1 yards per receptions. You can expect him to do the same if not more this season as Drew Brees' number one offensive weapon.
Biggest Strength : Safety
The Saints have always been a team that is led by the offense and that probably isn't
going to change this season. That doesn't mean that the Saints do not have talent on defense though.
In particular the partnership of Jairus Byrd and Kenny Vaccaro at safety could be something special. Vaccaro was the 15th overall pick of the 2013 draft and heads into his second year in the NFL after a solid first season. He will only get better in 2014.
Especially since he will be playing alongside Jairus Byrd who is one of the best in
the business in his position. The Saints snatched Byrd up in free agency signing him to a six year $54 million contract. Working in tandem with Vaccaro at Safety Byrd should make the Saints one of the hardest team to score big plays on in the NFL.
Biggest Weakness – Winning on the road
The Superdome in New Orleans is a fortress but on the road the Saints are historically
a different team. This may only manifest in losing three or four games on the road during the course of a season but this season such defeats could be season destroying.
Not because they will keep the Saints out of the playoffs or winning the NFC South but
because the Saints need to secure home advantage for the NFC Championship game. To do this they will need to win more games than the Seahawks and this means that the Saints cannot afford to lose more than a couple of games on the road.
The Saints are going to win the NFC South at a canter.They are a far superior team to the Panthers, Falcons and Buccaneers. As for the schedule, at home it seems likely that only the Packers and 49ers will present much of a challenge. Whilst on the road games against the Falcons, Browns and Cowboys and Buccaneers are four games where they will be heavily favored.
Perhaps the Saints biggest advantage though is the first five weeks of the season where
they play the Falcons, Browns, Vikings, Cowboys and Buccaneers. You can easily see them heading into the week six by week with a 5-0 record.