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New Orleans Saints 2017 NFL Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart

New Orleans Saints 2017 Preview

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The New Orleans Saints have finished 7-9 in each of the last three seasons and it's starting to feel like the time for a rebuild is now. On the flipside, Sean Payton is still the head coach and Drew Brees is still the quarterback, so this is still a team that has the potential to be dangerous and isn't going to just roll over despite many teams in the NFC passing them by.

Is there one more magical season left in the Saints before it's officially the end of an era?

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New Orleans Saints 2017 NFL Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart

USA TODAY Sports

Here’s the New Orleans Saints 2017 NFL preview.

Key Player Losses: The big loss for the Saints was when they traded wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the New England Patriots. Cooks is one of the more explosive receivers in the league and had 2,800 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns in three seasons in New Orleans. The Saints also lost their second-leading rusher in Tim Hightower, a journeyman who had 548 yards and four touchdowns last season. Defensively, the Saints cut their third leading tackler in Jairus Byrd, who is an experienced safety with more than 500 tackles and 25 interceptions in his career.  

Key Player Additions: The big splash for the Saints was adding Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson, who may be getting up there in age bt has only played 20 games the last three years, so maybe there's something left in those legs. The Saints also replaced Cooks by adding Ted Ginn Jr., who has topped 700 receiving yards each of the last two seasons and adds a spark on special teams. Guard Larry Warford instantly improves the offensive line, as he started 57 games for the Detroit Lions. Defensively, the Saints added linebacker Manti Te'o, who proved to be a solid tackler when on the field for the Chargers and hs nine career pass deflections. Defensive end Alex Okafor has also shown promise throughout his career with Arizona.

Draft: The Saints were terrible against the pass last season, and Marshon Lattimore was arguably the best cornerback in the draft. Lattimore will likely be thrown into the starting defensive backfield as a rookie. Ryan Ramczyk is the future for the Saints at the tackle position and has the skillset to be an anchor for the next decade if he can just stay healthy, another home run pick for New Orleans. Safety Marcus Williams is a wonderful athlete and has above-average ball skills, giving New Orleans another talented defensive back to improve a unit that was rough last year. Running back Alvin Kamara  probably would have gone higher if it weren't for off-the-field issues, but he has a little Darren Sproles to his game, which Brees should appreciate. Linebacker Alex Anzalone adds depth to the linebacker core if he can just stay healthy and Trey Hendrickson is a big, athletic guy at defensive end who should see the field in situational packages.

Outlook: Even at his age, Brees continues to put up ridiculous numbers and is coming off a year in which he completed 70 percent of his passes. He's good enough to help New Orleans put up a truckload of points, and that alone gives the Saints a punchers chance to snap this playoff drought. The problem is the Saints were 27th in total yards allowed last season and only San Francisco allowed more points per game. The Saints did address the defense in the draft and through free agency, but this unit was so bad I’m not sure a few rookies will improve it drastically to make them a contender in the NFC. I wouldn't be shocked if New Orleans sneaks into the playoffs, but these Super Bowl odds are a waste of time if you're looking for a dark horse future bet.

Schedule

Sep. 11    at Minnesota Vikings (Mon)    6:10 PM

Sep. 17    New England Patriots    12:00 PM

Sep. 24    at Carolina Panthers    12:00 PM

Oct. 1    at Miami Dolphins (London)    8:30 AM

Oct. 8    BYE

Oct. 15    Detroit Lions    12:00 PM

Oct. 22    at Green Bay Packers    12:00 PM

Oct. 29    Chicago Bears    12:00 PM

Nov. 5    Tampa Bay Buccaneers    12:00 PM

Nov. 12    at Buffalo Bills    12:00 PM

Nov. 19    Washington Redskins    12:00 PM

Nov. 26    at Los Angeles Rams    3:05 PM

Dec. 3    Carolina Panthers    12:00 PM

Dec. 7    at Atlanta Falcons (Thu)    7:25 PM

Dec. 17    New York Jets    12:00 PM

Dec. 24    Atlanta Falcons    12:00 PM

Dec. 31    at Tampa Bay Buccaneers    12:00 PM

 

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