By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
The New Orleans Saints go into the 2020 NFL Season as a Super Bowl contender. Several media members have predicted the Saints to break the playoff voodoo spell which has plagued the franchise in the post season since 2017. Each season since then New Orleans has gone 37-11 and have been crowned NFC South Champions. However, for three seasons in a row they have been the victims of devastating losses that has scarred and haunted the team and it's fan base.
The offense looks to remain the strength of the ball club as 41 year old Drew Brees returns for his 19th NFL season. Gone is Teddy Bridgewater who signed with division rival Carolina. The Saints were able to land Jameis Winston with a one year contract to backup Brees. Taysom Hill remains on the roster, but should continue to be used as the teams "slash".
The Saints managed to avoid a hold out by Alvin Kamara by signing him to a five-year, $75M extension. Latavius Murray and Ty Montgomery are solid back ups. The team has also added fullback Mike Burton.
Joining Michael Thomas in the lineup at wide receiver will be veteran Emanuel Sanders. Sanders is a nice upgrade to Ted Ginn Jr. who has moved on to Chicago. Deonte Harris, Tre'Quan Smith, tight ends Jared Cook, and Josh Hill give Brees several solid targets to spread the ball around too.
Not many changes were made to the offensive line. Gone is Larry Warford. But the Saints have added first round draft choice, Cesar Ruiz and veteran James Hurst. This 2020 version of the big guys up front will be solid and should continue to provide great pass protection and open up nice holes for the backs.
The defense seems to have been the teams weakness for several seasons now. They play well at times but always seem to struggle against the pass from time to time.
The defensive line remains solid as it returns Cam Jordan, Marcus Davenport, Malcom Brown, and Sheldon Rankins. This D-Line has dominated, helping the Saints to not allow a 100 yard rusher in the last 43 games.
Demario Davis, Alex Anzalone, and Kaden Elliss should be the starting unit for the Linebackers, along with Kiko Alonso and rookie Zack Baun adding depth. Last season this unit was the victim of nagging injuries. If they can stay healthy in 2020, we should see this group make several big plays.
The New Orleans secondary always seems to struggle with consistent play. Expect an upgrade
this season as the corner back position looks to be a strength. The Saints grabbed Janoris Jenkins off the waiver wire in December. He and Marshon Lattimore have been dominate in camp so far. PJ Williams and Patrick Robinson are talented reserves. Malcom Jenkins returns to New Orleans as a starter at strong safety after a six year stint with Philadelphia. Marcus Williams should man the free safety role this season.
Special Teams will continue to be a team strength. Both Thomas Morstead and Wil Lutz return. Neither show any sign of slowing down.
2020 has been a painful year for all of us as COVID-19 has changed our way of life over night. Who knows how this pandemic will effect football season, both college and NFL. If we can continue to flatten the curve and all slowly return to some normalcy, we should be able to enjoy a successful season by the New Orleans Saints. I see them finishing with a 12-4 record, winning the NFC South, but unfortunately losing to the 49ers in the Divisional Round. My Super Bowl pick is: Kansas City over San Francisco in a rematch from last season.