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Many people will tell you that the New Orleans Saints are far and away the favorites to once again walk away with the NFC South on their way to a deep playoff run. It makes sense that the Saints will do just that as on paper they are undoubtedly one of the best teams in the NFL. They finished the 2013 season ranked 2nd in passing offense and 4th in overall offense. One year after after having a historically bad defense, they also finished last year 2nd in passing defense and 4th in overall defense.
That top tier ranked offense is led by QB Drew Brees who recorded the second most passing yards of 2013 and TE Jimmy Graham who scored the second most touchdowns of 2013. Meanwhile the Saints have two of last year’s top 10 ranked pass rushers in OLB Junior Galette and DE Cameron Jordan.
Over the off-season, the Saints acquired a few key free agents in FS Jarius Byrd from the Buffalo Bills, OLB Parys Haralson from the San Francisco 49ers, and CB Champ Bailey from the Denver Broncos. They also hope that they’ve finally found a #1 WR (one that actually plays the WR position) in 1st round draft pick Brandin Cooks from Oregon State.
The Saints will have a tough schedule, not even making a SuperDome appearance until Week 3. Aside from their own NFC South opponents, the Saints will be up against the impossible to predict NFC North teams along with the confusing AFC North in cross-conference play. New Orleans will also have games against the 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys.
The reason I’m not ready to officially declare the Saints my pick to win the NFC South is that even with all the stats of last year, they were only able to win 2nd place in that division. Additionally, throughout the history of the division, we’ve learned that the only thing certain about the NFC South is that nothing is certain about the NFC South.