Here Are 4 Reasons Why The New Orleans Saints Will Make The Playoffs Next Season

The New Orleans Saints have missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons, but this team will return to being one of the elite teams in the league in 2016. Here are three reasons why they'll make the playoffs next season:

4) Sean Payton

Payton has largely failed to recapture the magic in New Orleans that led to a Super Bowl since his year-long suspension for "Bountygate," and that led to the idea of him entertaining other jobs following the 2015 season. However, Payton ultimately decided he wanted to stay with the Saints and rededicate himself to the franchise. That means the Saints will be getting the best Sean Payton they've had in a while, which will only lead to better things on the field.

3) Mark Ingram's continued improvement

Ingram took another step forward in 2015, proving again that he could a productive lead back with 769 rushing yards and six touchdowns in just 12 games. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry but also made a much bigger impact in the passing game, catching 50 passes for 405 yards. The Saints are finally starting to take advantage of the weapon Ingram has become, and they'll look to do so even more this year.

2) Improved young defense

Stephone Anthony and Hau’oli Kikaha did wonders for the Saints in their rookie seasons, and they should add a lot more talented young players in the draft. There’s plenty of time for the D to gel this summer in their first offseason under defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, and that could very well mean that they shock everyone with major statistical improvements up and down the board.

1) Drew Brees

Can we just stop with the Drew Brees "over the hill" garbage? Brees was one of the league's most dominant quarterbacks again in 2015, passing for 4,870 yards and 32 touchdowns in just 15 games. He's willing to work with the team to take less money, but Brees has been the only reason why New Orleans has been able to even sniff the postseason the past few years. Brees' mastery of the position and fruitful relationship with Sean Payton means more Arena Football League-like numbers in 2016.

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Related Topics: Drew Brees, NFL News, Mark Ingram, Saints News, Sean Payton