Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Saints Nation: 2010 Season Preview, Game Predictions (Part 2)

Up to this point through 8 weeks I've got the Saints sitting at 6-2. Let's take a look at the second half of their schedule:

Week 9: 11/7 @ Carolina Panthers

2009 Panthers Rankings: 19th offense, 8th defense

The Panthers will remember the drubbing they took from the Saints in the previous matchup, and they will run the ball all day long. Tough weather conditions force the Saints to play less of their style of football. The Saints will have their hands full in this one, but sneak it out. By this point in the season Jimmy Clausen is likely starting at quarterback for the Panthers and he makes a mistake late to cost them. Saints 24 Panthers 21

Week 10: BYE

Week 11: 11/21 vs. Seattle Seahawks

2009 Seahawks Rankings: 21st offense, 24th defense

Matt Hasselbeck is a solid NFL quarterback that struggles to stay healthy. The Seahawks may have Pete Carroll on board now, but they are an aging team that is regressing. They'll surprise the Saints a bit by putting a good effort in a shootout, but ultimately they have no answer for Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem stretching their defense deep, which leaves Colston, Shockey and Bush to move the ball at will underneath. Saints 45 Seahawks 34

Week 12: 11/25 @ Dallas Cowboys

2009 Cowboys Rankings: 2nd offense, 9th defense

The Cowboys can put up points in a hurry, and the addition of Dez Bryant to their offense should only make them more potent. This is one of the tougher matchups for the Saints because it's a team that can actually stop them and it's just as capable of lighting up the scoreboard. Playing the Cowboys in Dallas on Thanksgiving would be tough on any team. We know this game always means a lot to Sean Payton, especially in Dallas, but I think the Saints have a bit of a let down in this one. Saints 28 Cowboys 38

Week 13: 12/5 @ Cincinnati Bengals

2009 Bengals Rankings: 24th offense, 4th defense

The Bengals have the toughest defense that no one really knows much about. Their offense is also much better than 24th when Cedric Benson is on his game and Carson Palmer is healthy. Still, the Bengals will be praying for bad weather to even out the playing field against the Saints' prolific offense. I'm predicting a blizzard of epic proportions which allows the Bengals to pound Benson all day long. The Saints lose 2 in a row for their first losing streak of the season. Saints 17 Bengals 24

Week 14: 12/12 vs. St. Louis Rams

2009 Rams Rankings: 29th offense, 29th defense

The Rams are in full on rebuild mode, and I'd almost bet my house that Sam Bradford will be injured by this point in the season. The Saints are eager to bounce back from a bad patch of play, and Gregg Williams dials up a scary scheme that has A.J. Feeley's head swimming all day. Saints 41 Rams 0

Week 15: 12/19 @ Baltimore Ravens

2009 Ravens Rankings: 13th offense, 3rd defense

Eventually the Ravens' defense has to drop off. They've been in the top 5 for what seems like 8 years now, but they're aging and the Ravens are starting to spend more money on the other side of the ball. Like in Cincinnati, the Saints have to hope for the best weather possible. I predict they'll make a statement in this game that they are ready for the postseason and that they're not afraid to win on the road in cold weather against hard nosed football teams. Their bread in butter might not be classic football, but the Saints disprove the notion that they are a "soft" football team. Saints 17 Ravens 13

Week 16: 12/27 @ Atlanta Falcons

2009 Falcons Rankings: 16th offense, 21st defense

Matt Ryan will want to showcase his blossoming skills and journey to stardom on the national Monday Night stage. As Atlanta is fighting for a playoff birth, Ryan will play his best and the Falcons will upset the Saints in Atlanta. This will be the lone divisional game the Saints lose in 2010. Saints 31 Falcons 34

2009 Buccaneers Rankings: 28th offense, 27th defense

I'm not sure what the Saints will be playing for at this point, but my guess is it will be seeding, as they sit at 10-5. There is no way the Bucs will beat the Saints in the Dome two years in a row. I think it will be close for a half, with the Saints really pulling away late. Saints 45 Buccaneers 20

My prediction is 11-5 on the season, NFC South Champs, 2nd seed in the NFC, with a chance to get in the playoffs and make another run.