All eyes are on the Atlanta Falcons to not only take the NFC South, but contend for an NFC title. Everyone is forgetting about Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. The Saints should be the division favorite after what they’ve accomplished this offseason.
While the Falcons lost Harvey Dahl on their offensive line, New Orleans greatly boosted their defensive front. They drafted Cameron Jordan in round one, Martez Wilson in round three, Greg Romeus in round seven and signed Aubrayo Franklin and Shaun Rogers. Throw in Will Smith and Sedrick Ellis and they have one of the best lines in the entire league with an improved group of linebackers behind them.
Last season, injuries depleted their backfield and they finished 28th in the league in rushing yards per game. That should change in 2011 with the selection of Mark Ingram, a back that can actually run between the tackle, unlike Reggie Bush. Darren Sproles should be able to easily fill Bush’s third down back role and of course, Pierre Thomas is healthy again.
The Saints have three tough matchups right out of the starting gate against the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Houston Texans. Going 1-2 or even 0-3 right off the bat would be devastating, especially because they’d still have to face the Falcons twice, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers twice. They have a tough schedule getting matched up with the NFC North and AFC South, but they have the talent to march through.
Drew Brees is still an elite quarterback with a talented receiving corps in Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Robert Meachem, Devery Henderson and Jimmy Graham. There is no doubt about it, despite being in a tough division, the Saints will be playoff bound once again and will contend for a Super Bowl title.