New Orleans Saints
13-3 (8-8 ATS), 1st Place NFC South in 2009
2009 was arguably the greatest year that the Crescent City has ever had. The New Orleans Saints used one of the highest flying offenses of all time, some well timed defense, a gutsy coach, and a pinch of luck to win Super Bowl XLIV, giving the city of New Orleans its first football championship. All that will do is a repeat performance for the Saints, but those expectations may not prove to be as lofty as some normally face as they try to defend their title.
2010 Draft: Winning the Super Bowl normally means that your draft is a little on the weak side, and this year was no exception. New Orleans, picking last in the first round, took Florida State CB Patrick Robinson, who has blazing speed and respectable cover abilities. The Saints know that Robinson isn't likely to be a starter on this team except perhaps in the event of some injuries, but he is a ball hawking corner that can step into nickel packages and make a big difference. Don't be shocked if second round selection OT Charles Brown is starting by the middle of the season, particularly with the departure of Jamaal Brown.
Offensive Outlook: How could we possibly have anything negative to say about a unit that scored 31.9 points and racked up 403.8 yards per game a season ago? Simply put, QB Drew Brees should be considered the standard for quarterback play in this league right now. He outdueled Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl and threw for a whopping 4,388 yards in the regular season. Don't think that this was a team that couldn't rush the ball either. Averaging 131.6 yards per game on the turf was the sixth best number in the league. The team did a fantastic job of preserving this entire offense, and though there really aren't any critical additions to the bunch, unless there are offensive line problems, there should be no issues averaging right near, if not well beyond the 30 points per game barrier once again in 2010.
Defensive Outlook: Say what you want about the New Orleans defense conceding 21.3 points and 357.8 yards per game last year. The unit came up big when it had to in the NFC Championship Game against Minnesota and in the Super Bowl against Indianapolis. It wasn't so much the numbers that were pretty on this team, but opposing quarterbacks simply got beat up on a regular basis, which caused a ton of mental and physical mistakes that often led to turnovers and short fields for the offense. The trick is going to be whether someone can step into the role of S Darren Sharper from a year ago. Sharper was a Pro Bowl caliber player, picking off nine passes, three of which were returned for touchdowns. If Sharper doesn't come back to this team or can't play to that type of a standard, someone is going to have to step up to try to become the man that forces all of the turnovers. Look for DE Will Smith to have another great season after sacking opposing quarterbacks 13 times in the regular season a year ago.
2010 Betting Outlook: When you score as many points as the Saints do, you're going to cover plenty of spreads. However, down the stretch last year, beating the NFL odds was a difficult task. After starting 6-0 ATS, the Saints failed to cover three straight and ended up at just 2-8 ATS in its L/10 in spite of the fact that the team started out at 13-0 in the regular season. The oddsmakers clearly aren't giving us a break on New Orleans any longer, and the days of being -5.5 @ Buffalo or -14 at home against Detroit are long since gone.
New Orleans Saints Predictions: 12-4, 1st Place in NFC South 2010 New Orleans Saints Schedule
All Odds for 2010 NFL betting season can be found at Brobury Sportsbook.
New Orleans Saints Odds To Win NFC South: -165
New Orleans Saints Odds To Win NFC: +450
New Orleans Saints Odds To Win Super Bowl XLV: +1000
New Orleans Saints Regular Season Win Total: 10.5 over +125
This is a hefty season win total this year for the Saints, but believe it or not, the schedule is actually easier this year than it was last year, especially if you believe that the Panthers are a down bunch. There's no reason not to believe that a dozen wins is a real possibility once again, and at bare minimum, this team should be the #2 seed in the NFC playoffs as long as it avoids a rash of catastrophic injuries.
Week 1 - Home vs. Vikings
Week 2 - Away @ 49ers
Week 3 - Home vs. Falcons
Week 4 - Home vs. Panthers
Week 5 - Away @ Cardinals
Week 6 - Away @ Buccaneers
Week 7 - Home vs. Browns
Week 8 - Home vs. Steelers
Week 9 - Away @ Panthers
Week 10 - Bye
Week 11 - Home vs. Seahawks
Week 12 - Away @ Cowboys
Week 13 - Away @ Bengals
Week 14 - Home vs. Rams
Week 15 - Away @ Ravens
Week 16 - Away @ Falcons
Week 17 - Home vs. Buccaneers
New Orleans Saints Predictions: 12-4, 1st Place in NFC South
2010 New Orleans Saints Schedule