New Orleans Saints - NFC South Preview
The feel good New Orleans Saints are hpeing to feel super this year in February. With a high octane offense that has the ability to pull the rabbit out of the hat with the ability to score at any moment. Rookie Head Coach Sean Payton was awarded for his teams 7 win improvement with Coach of the Year honors. Payton has put togeteher a mentally tough outfit that made it's way into the NFC title game last season. Bodog.com have made the New Orleans Saints 14 to 1 betting odds to win the 2008 Super Bowl XLII
Sean Payton is an imaginative play-caller who has an array of deadly offensive weapons at his disposal. In his first year with the Saints QB Drew Brees led the NFL in passing and finished second in the MVP voting. Brees is a leader who knows what to do with the ball. Drew knows how to play the smart football necessary to make Payton's West Coast offense fly. The trio of Deuce McAllister, Reggie Bush and Antonio Pittman complements the Saints air attack beautifully. McAllister is load between the tackles and has with some top end speed in the open field. Bush is a game breaker with great hands but there is room for improvement in his running game.
Runner up for rookie of the year honors went to WR Marques Colston a big wideout with outstanding ball skills. The Saints drafted another big wideout in WR Robert Meachen to provide a deep threat downfield. TE Eric Johnson is an underrated player who just happens to be one of the pass catching tight ends in football. All five starters return on the offensive line from a unit that was both effective in the running and passing game. The line features no superstars but all the starters are good solid ballplayers who work well together.
The Saints run a standard 4-3 defense with lots of man coverage. New Orleans D-line is thin on depth but has a terrific cast of starters. Dominant DE Will Smith is coming of a 10.5 sack season that earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl. On the other side DE Charles Grant was an explosive force of the edge putting pressure on QB's. High energy DT Brian Young was atenacious player who added 5.5 more sacks from the inside. The Linebackers are a group of blue-collar players who get the job done.
The Secondary gave up far too many big plays last year. Turnovers were also few and far between leaving the offense to win games much of the time. CB Mike McKenzie is a very good cover corner but lacks big time playmaking ability. On the other side dimunitive CB Jason David was brought in to replace the vulnerable Fred Thomas. FS Josh Bullocks is a great athlete who will only get better. The Special Teams have a true ace in the hole in the return game with Reggie Bush. Kicker Olindo Mare was added in the off season to replace John Carney. Mare is coming off a poor year but has great leg strength.
The New Orleans Saints are a legitimate Super Bowl contender if they can remain healthy. If the takeaways can increase it will be hard for any team to outscore them. Look for a 11+ wins and a division title at least.
Brad Marchetti Opening Day New Orleans Saints Power Ratings: 20-80 Scale
30- Well Below Average
40- Below Average
60- Above Average
70- Very Good
Quarterback : 70
Backs : 70
Receivers : 60
Offensive Line : 65
Defensive Line : 65
Linebackers : 55
Secondary : 55
Special Teams : 65
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