by Clay A. Smith
Photograph by Jonathan Bachman
The Washington Times predicts that the Saints will be 6-10 for the '09 season. Now pay attention, because I'm going to tell you why they're wrong. New Orleans' early schedule is going to be rough. For the first four games they'll be without defensive ends Charles Grant and Will Smith -the heart of the Saints' pass rush.
Fortunately their opener will be at home against Detroit (enough said). In week two they'll fly to Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, to face the Eagles. For the sake of argument let's say that last year's NFC championship runner-ups will hold a slight edge in this one-but it'll be close.
In week three they'll face a Bill's team that lost eight of their last ten in 2008 and have commissioned the services of hired gun Terrell Owens. In theory, an All-Pro wide out would be a welcomed addition to any team, especially on that was ranked 25th in overall offense. But combine a team searching for stability with a young quarterback in Trent Edwards and a declining Owens, who at times can be more diva receiver, and you have the makings of a week three Saints win.
In week 4 the Jets will land in the Dome with an over-hyped rookie QB in Mark Sanchez and a new head coach that has inherited a team that, like the Bills, found a way to not make the playoffs last year. Expect defensive coordinator Greg Williams to unleash the Saints' revamped defense on Sanchez and blitz, blitz, blitz! If New Orleans Saints can get off to a good start, then fans have reason to be excited. Take that Washington Times. Tune in Friday when I'll cover weeks six through nine.