The New Orleans Saints returned to the playoffs last season and were a Minnesota Miracle away from reaching the NFC Championship Game. This team believes their championship window is still open, and while they play in the tough NFC South, many are expecting them to make another run at the Super Bowl. Here's a game-by-game prediction of the Saints' schedule this year:
Week 1: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Prediction: WIN (1-0)
Jameis Winston turns the ball over. A lot. As long as Drew Brees and the Saints take care of the ball, they should win this game comfortably. Tampa Bay, while improved, does not have the talent to hang with the Saints.
Week 2: vs. Cleveland Browns
Prediction: WIN (2-0)
Will the Browns be better? Absolutely. But they're still the Browns.
Week 3: at Atlanta Falcons
Prediction: LOSS (2-1)
These two rivals aren't just competing at the top of the division - they're competing at the top of the NFC. Because of how good both of these teams are, I think they'll split the season series with each team winning at home.
Week 4: at New York Giants
Prediction: WIN (3-1)
The Saints aren't as good on the road, but New Orleans is the superior team in this matchup against an underwhelming Giants team.
Week 5: vs. Washington Redskins
Prediction: WIN (4-1)
Washington made a change at quarterback this offseason, trading for Alex Smith while letting Kirk Cousins walk in free agency. However, the rest of the team is still very much the same - and not good enough to beat the Saints.
Week 6: BYE
Week 7: at Baltimore Ravens
Prediction: WIN (5-1)
The Ravens are a team of solid players but they don't really have any stars. Plus, their offense has been stagnant in recent years with Joe Flacco under center. They simply won't be able to keep pace with the Saints on the scoreboard.
Week 8: at Minnesota Vikings
Prediction: LOSS (5-2)
The Saints are headed back to Minnesota and it will be deja vu all over again for New Orleans. Perhaps not the same ending but the same outcome with Vikings coming away with the victory thanks to Kirk Cousins.
Week 9: vs. Los Angeles Rams
Prediction: LOSS (5-3)
LA was really, really good last season and they only got better defensively by adding Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, and Ndamukong Suh. They'll win a hard-fought game between two of the best teams in the league and what will be a potential playoff preview.
Week 10: at Cincinnati Bengals
Prediction: WIN (6-3)
The Bengals are rebuilding in their own right and are not on the same playing field as the Saints. New Orleans wins comfortably on the road.
Week 11: vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Prediction: LOSS (6-4)
The Eagles are the champs for a reason - they have seemingly no holes on their roster. They'll win this game, though New Orleans will provide a stiff test.
Week 12: vs. Atlanta Falcons
Prediction: WIN (7-4)
New Orleans will earn the split against Atlanta on Sunday Night Football.
Week 13: at Dallas Cowboys
Prediction: WIN (8-4)
Even though the game is in Dallas, this will be a good matchup because the Saints are great in dome games and match up well against the Cowboys. Dallas secondary simply won't be able to slow Drew Brees.
Week 14: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Prediction: WIN (9-4)
If the Bucs haven't fired head coach Dirk Koetter by this point in the season, there will be a lot of talk about it. That dysfunction will help the Saints sweep Tampa Bay.
Week 15: at Carolina Panthers
Prediction: LOSS (9-5)
Carolina is a solid team that has improved their offensive weapons but their secondary still leaves somthing to be desired. Like with Atlanta, these two will split the season series.
Week 16: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Prediction: WIN (10-5)
The Steelers have been one of the best teams in the AFC for the past decade and a half and have plenty of star power. However, the Saints found a number of key young players on defense last year to complement one of the most explosive offenses in the league, and that will be the difference for them in the Superdome.
Week 17: vs. Carolina Panthers
Prediction: WIN (11-5)
The Saints will wrap up the season by clinching a playoff spot at home against the Panthers.Back to the New Orleans Saints Newsfeed