TDT NFL Power Rankings No. 17: New Orleans Saints
The Saints are looking to snap their playoff drought, but do they have enough talent to get it done?
The New Orleans Saints have finished with a 7-9 record in each of the last three seasons. Sean Payton, one of the NFL’s brightest minds, is looking to right the ship in his 11th season as the team’s head coach. Drew Brees, at 38 years of age, is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league. But, the clock is ticking. It’s a win now mentality for the Saints, but will the defense hold them back in 2017?
What I Like: The Saints boast a formidable rushing attack heading into the season. Mark Ingram was one of the better running backs last season and now they have added Adrian Peterson into the fold. While he’s no longer in his prime, the Saints are hoping that this change of scenery can revive his career. Their secondary is also a position of strength, led by safety Kenny Vaccaro and rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore.
What I Don’t Like: New Orleans has struggled to generate a consistent pass rush, and they still might have the same problem in 2017. Cameron Jordan is one of the best in the business at his position, but there is no threat on the other side to draw attention. Sheldon Rankins is a solid interior pass rusher, but they really need someone who is quick off the ball and can get after the quarterback.
Offensive MVP: QB Drew Brees. It’s common knowledge that Drew Brees is not the biggest quarterback, but his elite arm strength and pin-point accuracy more than make up for that. That skill set just meshes perfectly in an offense predicated on airing it out.
Defensive MVP: DE Cameron Jordan. There are few defensive ends in the league who are better all around players than Cameron Jordan. He’s not a double-digit sack guy, but he’s highly capable of rushing the passer. He’s an exceptional asset in the team’s run-stopping efforts as well. This is going to be a big season for him.
Season Outlook: I think it’s clear that the Saints are the fourth best team in the NFC South, but they are no slouches by any means. The offense is going to be explosive with Brees throwing to Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr., and Ingram and Peterson on the ground. The defense is a question mark, but they have enough talent to stay in most games. They won’t go 7-9 again, but they likely won’t make the playoffs either.
8-8, 4th in NFC South