Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Saints Nation: 2010 Season Preview, Game Predictions (Part 1)

As the season is getting closer and closer, I wanted to take some time to run through the Saints' opponents and preview each game, making a prediction for each outcome. You'll see the first 8 games below, and the next 8 games in my next segment.

Week 1: 9/9 vs. Minnesota Vikings

Vikings 2009 Rankings: 5th offense, 6th defense

We all know Brett Favre is coming back, and the Vikings will be coming to New Orleans with revenge on their mind based on how things played out last time. The Saints were outplayed in that game and were in part fortunate to get so many turnovers. I think the Saints will play a much better game overall, but they won't get as many freebees. Saints 31 Vikings 24.

Week 2: 9/20 @ San Francisco 49ers

49ers 2009 Rankings: 27th offense, 15th defense

I think this is a trap game for the Saints. The 49ers will be much improved, and the Saints will be feeling good about themselves getting a tough win against a very good Vikings team. I think the Saints get a little overconfident and the extra time off hurts them. The 49ers improved themselves significantly through the draft, especially along the offensive line. Their defense will only get better too. Saints 17 49ers 29

Week 3: 9/26 vs. Atlanta Falcons

Falcons 2009 Rankings: 16th offense, 21st defense

Not only is this a short week for the Saints, but they have to fly across the country to get ready for a big time divisional rival. Many national pundits are picking the Falcons to take over the reign in the NFC South this year. The Falcons are almost exactly the same in terms of personnel from a year ago. Rookie Sean Weatherspoon may help their defense improve, though. Ultimately the Saints are serious and come to play coming off a loss. Saints 30 Falcons 27

Week 4: 10/3 vs. Carolina Panthers

Panthers 2009 Rankings: 19th offense, 8th defense

The Panthers will continue to run the ball, play tough defense, and have good coaching, but how long will Matt Moore hold down the fort at quarterback? It's got to be only a matter of time before we see Jimmy Clausen. Thomas Davis is already out for the year, and Steve Smith is schedule to miss training camp. Don't forget Julius Peppers is no longer on the team either. I think the Panthers will suffer in 2009 and see a drop in performance on both sides of the ball. The Saints will host Carolina and embarrass the Panthers. Saints 48 Panthers 10

Week 5: 10/10 @ Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals 2009 Rankings: 14th offense, 20th defense

The Cardinals have had the luxury of playing in a weak division the past few years, but with Kurt Warner retired the big question becomes: can Matt Leinart play at the same level he did in college? The Cardinals' big time offseason pickups were Joey Porter and Alan Faneca, two players well past their prime, while they lost a superstar in Anquan Boldin. The Cardinals will play the Saints hard as they remember how their season ended the previous year, but the Saints have just too much firepower. Saints 28 Cardinals 24

Week 6: 10/17 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers 2009 Rankings: 28th offense, 27th defense

A year ago the Saints came into Tampa and shell shocked the Bucs, only to suffer one of the year's biggest upsets when the Bucs visited them in New Orleans. You can bet that the Saints won't underestimate Tampa as Sean Payton will remind them every day of this week that they blew a 17-0 lead by taking the game for granted. I think the Bucs will be improved defensively but Josh Freeman is not an NFL ready quarterback. Saints 27 Buccaneers 3

Week 7: 10/24 vs. Browns

Browns 2009 Rankings: 32nd offense, 31st defense

This is about as cupcake of a home game as you can get. But remember how the Saints did against Tampa last year? Also, the Saints must beware of Jake Delhomme coming to the Superdome, because he's had a history of making the team that let him go look bad. I think the Saints prevail but get a huge scare late.
Saints 31 Browns 27

Week 8: 10/31 vs. Steelers

Steelers 2009 Rankings: 7th offense, 5th defense

The Steelers are as tough as nails and you know they'll be wanting to bounce back in a serious way from the disappoint of last year. I think the Steelers defense will slow the Saints' offense down as much as anyone, so they are tough matchup for the Saints if they can get a few stops and run the ball with success. Saints 20 Steelers 33

Through 8 games, I have the Saints at 6-2. Check back for the remaining 8 games tomorrow.