2016 New Orleans Saints Predictions

The 2015 version of the New Orleans Saints did not quite live up to expectations. Finishing with a 7-9 record and missing the playoffs is not the outcome many predicted for this team. Vegas doesn’t think things will get much better, setting their over under at 7 wins for 2016.

Here is how we think the Saints will fare.

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 11 vs. Oakland Raiders
The Raiders will be a tough match up to start the season. Young quarterback Derrick Carr seems to be emerging in this league. This rising young team, along with Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack will be tough to beat. Record 0-1

Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 18 at New York Giants
A new coach will be in place for the Giants, however they will have familiar faces Eli Manning and Odell Beckham. The Giants usually start the season well. Record 0-2

Week 3: Monday, Sept. 26 vs. Atlanta Falcons
The home opener for the Saints should result in a win. The Saints have seemed to have the Falcons number in recent years. This game is the 10-year anniversary of New Orleans’ return to the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina in 2006. Hard to see them losing this game. Record 1-2

Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 2 at San Diego Chargers
A road trip out west will not be an easy challenge. The Chargers however were not very good last year. Drew Brees could have a chip on his shoulder against his former team. Since he’s one of the best Saints of all-time, I like him to have a big game here.  Record 2-2

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 16 vs. Carolina Panthers
The Saints usually play well in divisional games, but the Panthers will be too much. I don’t think we improved enough via the draft to take them on.  Record 2-3

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 23 at Kansas City Chiefs
The Saints usually have trouble in outdoor stadiums. The loud Arrowhead will be a tough place to win. The Chiefs finished last year ranking third in the NFL in points allowed. Record 2-4

Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 30 vs. Seattle Seahawks
Seattle at home is a very tough team to beat. Their defense will be too much for the Saints. Record 2-5

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 6 at San Francisco 49ers
Another trip to the west coast should result in an other win. The 49ers are clearly still in rebuild mode. Record 3-5

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 13 vs. Denver Broncos
The defending champions will have a new look at quarterback, however they should still have a really good defense, regardless of what happens to Von Miller. Record 3-6

Week 11: Thursday, Nov. 17 at Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers will be on a mission this year to get back to the Super Bowl. Hard to see the saints winning this divisional game on the road. Record 3-7

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 27 vs. Los Angeles Rams
The Rams success will depend largely on their new quarterback. They have a pretty good defense but offensively they are at times inconsistent. Record 4-7

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 4 vs. Detroit Lions
Detroit has not been very good in recent years and they now have no Megatron. Record 5-7

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 11 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs should continue to improve with new Quarterback Jameis Winston. On the road, outdoors will be too much for the Saints. Record 5-8

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 18 at Arizona Cardinals
Arizona should be the team to beat in their division this year. They will be able to outscore the Saints. Record 5-9

Week 16: Saturday, Dec. 24 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
At home the Saints will be playing for pride. They squeak out a close one. Record 6-9

Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 1 at Atlanta Falcons
They’ve had the Falcons number as of late. Perhaps numerically they are still in the wildcard hunt. Record 7-9

Back to back losing seasons.  I almost feel like we are back in the Ditka era.

Best New Orleans Saints Ever

If you’re like me, then you’re hurting right now. Basketball has just ended, hockey is over and baseball just absolutely sucks. It’s rough right now for sports fans, and hopefully the Olympics can hold me over until the king of all sports returns. I’m talking about the NFL. I can feel my inner beast stirring at the thought of it! We are only a few more months away and in honor of the great one’s return we’re going to play sports fans’ favorite game, who’s the best?

Today’s subject will be the New Orleans Saints. We, or rather I, am going to discuss the top Saints players of all time, if time were to end today. Hopefully, one of this year’s draft picks can join this list.

As always, before you lose complete control of your anger, read til the end.  You won’t find Ricky Williams on this list, since that was one of the worst trades of all-time.

Marques Colston

Drafted in 2006, Colston took off like a rocket immediately. From his rookie year up to now, he’s always started. The chemistry between him and Drew Brees was instant and explosive on the field. By the end of his rookie season he was 2nd place for Offensive Rookie of the Year with: 70 receptions, 1038 yards and 8 TD’s. During the Saints’ Superbowl run, Colston finished the game with 7 receptions for 83 yards and a Superbowl ring. He’s never played for anyone else and doesn’t want to, a fact that is not lost on Saints fans. When it comes to the Saints, Colston is: 1st in receptions with 684, 1st in receiving yards with 9439 and 1st in TD’s with 68.

Deuce McAllister

McAllister was drafted by the Saints in 2001, one year before the exit of Ricky Williams. Recognizing that it was time to step up and be the running back the former couldn’t be, McAllister’s work on the field has cemented him as one of the most beloved Saints players of all time. Don’t mistake those roars from the crowd as boos in New Orleans’ stadium when he touched the ball, they were yelling “Deuce!”. Here are some of his numbers: 1st Saints running back to rush for 1000+ yards in three straight seasons, 1st in all time Saints rushing yards with 6069, 1st in all time Saints rushing TD’s with 49, 4th in receiving TD’s for a running back with 5 and 4th in receiving yards by a running back with 1720.  He’s a member of the 45th Anniversary team.

Archie Manning

You just knew a Manning was going to make the list! You can’t argue with it though. He racked up 21,734 yards in his twelve seasons and is currently third in the Saints record books with 115 TD’s. Even the most die hard of fans will admit that the Saints have been the “aints” longer than they’ve been winners and during those dark days, Manning was a ray of light.

Ricky Jackson

Jackson was a linebacker for the Saints for 13 years and was inducted into the Saints’ Hall of fame. He was named to the All Rookie Team and during his entire Saints run, he only missed 2 games due to an accident. He still played with his jaw wired shut (looking at you Kanye) and showed New Orleans the definition of tough as nails. In 2010 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Drew Brees

Washed out. Too short. 7 Pro Bowls. Superbowl MVP. Led NFL in touchdown passes, yards and 300 yard games. Not done yet. We still have him so there is a chance for the 2016 season.

There is no one on the planet that can contest this mans numbers or his importance to the team. Destined for just about every hall of fame, Drew Brees is the Saint of all Saints.

Saints 2016 Draft Analysis

Despite having just five picks in the 2016 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints pulled off possibly one of the best draft classes in years. Three of the five picks were used to sure up the leagues worst defense in terms of yards per game. Still, unlike Ditka I’d rather have more picks rather than one great one.  Listed below includes an analysis on each player selected and why they were a good for this football team.

Sheldon Rankins, Defensive End, Louisville Round 1, 12th pick
Rankins is the dominate “3-technique” that all 4-3 defenses rely on. The acquisition of Rankins will help out both the pass defense and rush defense that were among the leagues worse a year ago. Last season at Louisville, the 6’2″ 205 lb. tackle racked up 8 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss. Rankins stood out at the Senior Bowl where he made headlines all week due to his abilities in the one on one sessions. The former All-ACC performer will be a great fit on this Saints’ defensive line that desperately needed help.  He should help the Saints win more games in 2016.

Michael Thomas, Wide Reciever, Ohio State Round 2, 47th pick
Prior to the draft, Thomas was considered one of the top possession WRs in the country. He has great size and will instantly become one of Drew Brees’ favorite targets. Since he’s an All-Time great for the Saints, Thomas should come out firing.  At 6’4″ and 215 lbs, look for Thomas to become an instant jump ball threat in the Red Zone. This selection makes an already potent offense even better.

Vonn Bell, Safety, Ohio State Round 2, 61st pick
Perhaps the biggest move of the draft for the Saints was to trade two of their picks for Bell. New Orleans desperately need picks to immediately help out their defense, and they found them both in the first two days of the draft. Bell is a versatile safety who is an average downhill tackler and a great cover player. Last season at OSU, Bell helped lead his team to a national championship and earned 1st Team All-American honors from the Associated Press. Concerns over his ability to “fill the alley” and play downhill led to Bell’s falling out of the first two rounds. Despite those concerns, the Saints will expect Bell to improve and compete for a starting job during this season.

David Onyemata, Defensive Tackle, Mantioba Round 4, 120th pick
The biggest reach for the Saints during this draft was the selection of Onyemata. Onyemata never stepped onto a football field until he arrived at college in Winnipeg, Canada. Despite the inexperience and level of competition, he has proven to possess elite raw power and strength that opponents dread. If Onyemata is open to coaching, he has the upside to become a steal as the 120th overall pick.

Daniel Lascro, Running Back, California Round 7, 237th pick

If not for an injury plagued senior season at California, Lascro would most likely have been picked on day 2 of the draft. Instead he slid to the final round where he was scooped up by the Saints. He wowed scouts at the NFL combine with a 41.5 inch vertical which was the best of any player present. Lascro, however, will have to claw his way to a roster spot with a very crowed New Orleans backfield. If he wants to make the team, he will have do it by becoming a special teams threat in the preseason.

The Demise of Dikta: Trading for Ricky Williams

New Orleans Saints head coach Mike Ditka came to the 1999 NFL Owners Meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz. declaring he would trade all of his draft picks for the opportunity to select Heisman Trophy winner Texas running back Ricky Williams.  By the way, something he says he would still do.

A proclamation of this nature didn’t give the Saints much leverage in conducting trade talks with other teams, but a deal was finally consummated that rocked the NFL Draft. The Saints traded away eight draft picks, including two first-round selections, to the Washington Redskins for the fifth-overall pick.  I’m glad we had plenty of draft picks this year to restock the team.

It was the biggest trade to acquire one player since the Dallas Cowboys traded running back Herschel Walker and four draft choices to the Minnesota Vikings for five players and eight draft picks in 1989. The package included three first-round choices, three second-round picks and one third-round selection, all of which solidified the roster for the Cowboys dominance in the 90s.

Ditka was getting frustrated with the entire rebuilding process, as the Saints suffered through back-to-back disappointing 6-10 seasons. Which is not much better than we see this year going after last year’s 7-9 campaign.  He envisioned Williams becoming the centerpiece for his rushing attack, and felt a trade of this nature would be the final piece in the puzzle to getting the Saints back to respectability.

What was not to like about Williams, as he was the NCAA career rushing leader and the first Heisman Trophy winner to call Austin home since Earl Campbell in 1977. However, NFL franchises questioned his passion to play professional football and ranked Edgerrin James ahead of him as the top collegiate running back heading into the draft.

Ditka’s natural tendency was to give the proverbial “finger” if another front office questioned his evaluation of a player. He felt so confident about this trade that Ditka showed up to a team’s function in a dreadlock wig, which was identical to Williams’ hairstyle at the time.

It’s hard to judge Williams as a certifiable draft bust, but it’s correct to state that he didn’t exceed expectations during his time in New Orleans.  It’s not like he’s one of the best ever. Some in the local media thought Williams had a quirky personality, as he often conducted interviews with his helmet and visor on. It later came out that Williams battled a social anxiety disorder all throughout his professional career.

He was far more famous for his pot-smoking exploits than his actions on the football field, but Williams did rush for over 3,000 yards in his three seasons with the Saints. Despite all of the impressive offensive numbers, many fans felt Williams was a sheer disappointment for the amount of picks given up to acquire him. You cannot disagree with this argument, as injuries to his ankles and elbow limited Williams time on the field. He rushed for only 884 yards and scored four touchdowns in his rookie campaign.

Ultimately, the failure of the Williams trade defined Ditka’s tenure in New Orleans. Saints team owner Tom Benson couldn’t continue going down this path with the franchise and relieved him of his duties following 3-13 season. The immediate turnaround shown by the Saints was largely due to Benson finally handing the reins of running the franchise over to a football personnel guy, as Randy Mueller did an excellent job of rebuilding the roster through the draft and key free agent acquisitions.

You can’t argue with success, the Saints were 42-38 under Mueller, while the team was 15-33 in the three seasons under the helm of Mike Ditka. The highlight of Mueller’s brief tenure as Saints GM was the team’s first-ever playoff win over the St. Louis Rams 31-28 in 2000. His final act was trading Williams to the Miami Dolphins for two first-round draft picks following the conclusion of the 2001 season.