A Schedule Breakdown for the New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints will play their 42nd season in 2008, and attempt to
improve a record of 7-9 that concluded last season. Of course, much of their
loss could be attributed to a tough 2007 schedule as well as the loss of some
major talent due to injuries. Head Coach Sean Payton is back this year and has
been doing some remarkable work in rebuilding the team, considering that the
Saints were 3-13 as recently as 2005. 2006 continued the Saints’ success,
giving them a 10-6 record and a trip to the playoffs. So what happened last
year? Some speculate that perhaps fans expected too much too soon, since
technically, the 2006 and 2007 season should have been a regrouping period.
Now in 2008, the Saints are a more organized team and carry a roster of hungry,
young talent. Could they win the NFC South this year by defeating the Tampa
Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers?
Things are off to a good start, with new draft picks like Sedrick Ellis and Tracy
Porter. The Saints also recently signed Jeremy Shockey from the New York
Giants. You would also think that having the opportunity to play in London,
England against the San Diego Chargers on October 26th would have the team
psyched. However, nothing is for sure until you review the New Orleans Saints’
schedule. The Saints go into this season with an Opponent Winning Percentage
of .449, meaning that their opponents won 115 games in 2008, while losing 141.
If the numbers haven’t clicked yet, just know that the Saints have the fifth least
difficult schedule in the entire NFL.
First they take on some formidable competition in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,
the Washington Redskins, the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers for
the month of September. October brings along second-tier teams along,
including the Minnesota Vikings, the Oakland Raiders and the Carolina Panthers.
The team’s most challenging opponent, the San Diego Chargers, will come at the
end of October. They get a week off for November 2, and then spring back into
action against the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs. Stronger competition
appears by way of the Green Bay Packers and a replaying of the Tampa Bay
Buccaneers. December would be a breeze for a playoff team, since it only
involves contesting the Atlanta Falcons (again), the Chicago Bears, the Detroit
Lions and the Carolina Panthers, for the second time. However, perceived as
the underdog, the New Orleans Saints will have to prove themselves this season.
The good news is that the schedule looks promising. This is as fair of a schedule
as New Orleans is going to get for the next few years, and now that valuable
players Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister are back from injuries, an easy
schedule is just what New Orleans needs. Week 3-Week 11 involves a string of
seven teams, six of which are regrouping, and only one of which made the
playoffs last year. The AFC West is the weakest it has been in quite some time,
and even the most successful team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, won only nine
games by last year’s season end. If the Saints can fix their defensive problems
in time, they could make 2008 their best season yet.