New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees is currently my favorite starting QB in the NFL. His pinpoint accuracy is quite breathtaking to watch. You give this guy a window to throw to and, no matter how small, he will hit it. Brees threw for 5,162 yards and 39 TD’s last year, second only to the single season record setting Peyton Manning’s 5,477 yards and 55 TD’s. Manning would go on to win his 5th MVP in the easiest MVP voting in NFL history. but if not for him, Brees would have been a prime MVP candidate.
Brees’s favorite target is Jimmy Graham
, the best catching tight end in the league and highest paid tight end in NFL history. Brees’ second favorite target is 2006 late 7th rounder Marques Colston
. Brees is so good he turned Colston into a stud. Not to downgrade Colston’s talent but who knows how his career would have gone if he had gone to a team with an average QB.
Running game wise, New Orleans always seems to use a tandem of at least 3 backs that can catch the ball out of the backfield. This gives Brees extra weapons, but the team as a whole has failed to have success just running the ball. They have not had a 1000 yard rusher since 2006. Last years tandem was, Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles. Sproles departed for the Philadelphia Eagles, with Khiry Robinson trying to take his place.
Last year the Saints had the 4th best defense in the league in both yards and points allowed under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Hard to believe the year before the Saints defense gave up the most single season yards in NFL history. It must be in the Ryan genes as Rob’s twin brother Rex is known as one of the best defensive minds in the game.
Defensive end Cameron Jordan (not to be confused with the Browns Jordan Cameron) also played a big part. His 12.5 sacks were fifth best in the league last year.
As long as Brees is the starting QB this team is a playoff contender, but the massive improvement of the defense makes this a scary team to play, and a bonafide Super Bowl contender. I expect the Saints to win at least 12 games, handily win the division, and push for a NFC #1 seed.
Click on the logo below to see the final team in Hawk’s 2014 NFL Preview: AFC West Edition: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: