In the months leading up to the start of the '09 season, several NFL "analysts" have projected yet another down year for the "black and gold." A couple of weeks ago, after an erroneous article by the Washington Times had the Saints going 6-10 for the '09 season, it became clear that Saints' fans were in desperate need of a less dour forecast.
After the first eight games I had the Saints at 6-2 and sitting comfortably atop the NFC South. It'd be safe to say that New Orleans will have a better than average shot at putting some distance between themselves and the field in their week 10 trip to St. Louis. In their previous two seasons the Rams have amassed only five wins-and that's a small miracle. In '08 the Rams had to deal with an interim head coach, quarterback controversy, and an injured Steven Jackson.
Since then, the Rams have dealt away future Hall of Famers Orlando Pace and Torry Holt (even Detroit is looking forward to playing these guys). The Saints should win. But that's what I thought in 2007 when the then 0-8 Rams upset them 37-29 for one of their three wins that year. Lets just hope that history doesn't repeat itself.
The Saints' week eleven game against Tampa should yield a similar result. Like St. Louis, the Buccaneers have a new head coach (Raheem Morris), a quarterback controversy, and are just coming off a wholesale unloading of upper echelon, veteran, and future Hall of Fame players. Its not a stretch by any means to suggest that the Bucs are under reconstruction, so the Saints should have no trouble demolishing what's left of last year's 9-7 team.
8-2, New Orleans will welcome Tom Brady and his New England Patriots (oh well, can't win them all). The Patriots are just too good. As much as I hate to, I have to take the Pats. Even without Brady, who is almost unanimously recognized as the game's best, the "Pats" still managed to win eleven games and were in the top ten in offense and defense last year.
Washington may be one of the most under-rated teams in the NFL. Last year they had the eighth best rushing attack and improved their number four ranked defense this off-season by signing monster DT Albert Haynesworth . Sorry "Saints' Faithful" but chalk up another win to the NFC East.
So far the Saints' are 8-4 and eying a playoff spot. I'll see you Friday when I'll wrap up the final four games.
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