The 2008 New Orleans Saints finished with an 8-8 record and missed the post season. The team is explosive offensively and is in need of better play defensively. The Saints made Greg Williams their defensive coordinator and are poised for improvement. The Saints drafted 2 secondary players with their first two picks in the draft and were aggressive in free agency while acquiring cornerback Jabari Greer from Buffalo and safety Darren Sharper from the Minnesota Vikings. Sports betting oddsmakers have set the 2009 New Orleans Saints regular season win projected total NFL betting line at 9 wins.
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The New Orleans Saints play in the NFC South and will have two games with the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The NFC South must play the AFC East this season so they will host the New York Jets and New England Patriots while traveling to the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins. The NFC South must play the NFC East this season so the Saints will be on the road to the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins while hosting the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. As the last place finisher in the NFC South the New Orleans Saints must play the two other last place finishers in the NFC so that means a home game against the Detroit Lions and a road game at the St Louis Rams.
Quarterback Drew Brees was outstanding in 2008 completing on 65% of his passes for 5069 yards with 34 touchdown passes. The Saints are loaded at wideout with Marques Colston, Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem. Jeremy Shockey is a solid tight end but must stay healthy. Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush will lineup at running back and the team will be without Deuce McAllister who was not resigned. A concern for the Saints will be their short yardage carrier as the Saints lack size and strength in their backfield. Bush is an all-purpose back who will catch plenty of balls out of the backfield but he is not effective running between the tackles. The Saints desperately need someone who can carry the ball between the tackles. If the Saints struggle on the ground opposing defensive will sit back in pass coverage making Brees’ job more difficult.
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Defensive coordinator Greg Williams task is to improve a defense that has hampered the team in recent years. The Saints were 26th in the league in 2008 in points allowed. The pass rush was poor in 2008 and it contributed to big plays against the defense. 2008 first round pick Sedrick Ellis is looking to build on a year where he posted 30 tackles and 4 sacks. Greg Williams likes to blitz and has talent in the linebacker position with Jonathan Vilma, Scott Fujita and Scott Shanle. With veteran Sharper and Greer in the secondary the unit will show good improvement.
And now to my Selection:
With a last place schedule the Saints will play the last place Detroit Lions and St Louis Rams while the rest of the division will play tougher teams from the NFC North and NFC West. The Saints offense will likely carry the team once again but the Saints under defensive coordinator Greg Williams will be better. One of the biggest yet underreported acquisition during the offseason was Darren Sharper on defense for the Saints. With better pieces and coaching on defense plus the benefit of a last place schedule the Saints will get over 9 wins.
Selection: Play the New Orleans Saints over 9 wins for the 2009 NFL Season.