While the summer season brings much enjoyment to the average person, for an NFL fan, it represents a desolate wasteland where Sundays just aren't quite as vibrant as in the autumn months. However, with each passing day, we inch closer to the beginning of the 2023 NFL season, which officially kicks off on September 8 this year.
Whether you've had your favorite team's tweet notifications turned on all summer or if you've decided to tune out all football news entirely, you'll be able to learn everything you need to know about your team going into the 2022-23 season right here.
In today's article, I'll be discussing the New Orleans Saints.
I'm working on season guidebooks for all 32 NFL teams, which will all be released within the next few weeks. To check out another team's guidebook, click here:
2021 Season Recap
The Saints had an up and down season in 2021 as they struggled with consistency from their quarterback and offense. New Orleans had a tough stretch in the middle of the season where they lost five in a row, and despite a valiant effort to reach the postseason, winning four of their last five contests, they ultimately lost out on a tiebreaker with Philadelphia to sit in the 8th spot in the NFC.
New Orleans' defense was surprisingly good and kept them in a lot of the games where the offense struggled. The trio of Jameis Winston, Trevor Siemian, and Tayson Hill were alternating games throughout the year and none of them were really able to get anything going with consistency. They'll look to improve offensively under a new head coach as they attempt to get back to the postseason in 2022.
Significant Roster Moves
You'll notice several receivers who have departed the squad in the offseason, but thankfully, those receivers weren't all that valuable in 2021. The Saints added Jarvis Landry in free agency, but the biggest addition to the offense will be the return of Michael Thomas, who missed all of last season after having ankle surgery just before the season began. Andy Dalton will also join the team to push Jameis Winston and provide him some sort of mentorship.
The Saints lost two safeties, Malcolm Jenkins and Marcus Williams, but they've added effective replacements with Tyrann Mathieu, Marcus Maye, and Daniel Sorenson.
2022 Draft Class
New Orleans only had five selections in this year's draft, but two of them were first rounders. They took Ohio State WR Chris Olave at #11 overall before strengthening the offensive line with Trevor Penning at #19. 2nd-round pick Alontae Taylor will get immediate reps at cornerback, while the other two guys drafted will serve as reserves to start their NFL careers.
The Saints will take on the NFC West and the AFC North to go along with their six divisional games. Their other three opponents are the Minnesota Vikings, Las Vegas Raiders, and Philadelphia Eagles. With an opponent prior season win percentage of .528, New Orleans has the 8th hardest schedule in the NFL.
New Orleans' primetime games include one Thursday night game at Arizona and one Monday night game at Tampa Bay. They will also play in London against Minnesota in Week 4.
The Saints return 18 of their 22 offensive and defensive starters from a season ago, which is above average among all teams in the league. That means New Orleans has regrouped almost entirely from last season, and they've managed to gather adequate replacements for the guys they lost. None of their current top three receivers played last season, so odds are the Saints will improve offensively as long as they can get decent quarterback play.
Dennis Allen was named the 17th head coach in Saints franchise history this offseason after Sean Payton unexpectedly retired. Pete Carmichael is a seasoned veteran who will begin his 14th season as offensive coordinator with the team. The other three coaches in coordinator roles don't have as much experience, but have served in their respective roles for at least 2 years, meaning Allen is the only new addition to the coaching staff.
Oddsmakers have set the regular season win total for New Orleans at 8.5 games. As of right now, the Saints are the 2nd most likely team to win the NFC South and the 8th most likely team to win the NFC. At +4000 to win the 2023 Super Bowl, they are tied for 16th among all teams in the league.
Bucket Squad Predictions
I honestly like New Orleans' roster going into the season, but I think it'll unfortunately be more of the same for Saints fans in 2022. I just don't trust Jameis Winston as a starting quarterback in the NFL given his proclivity to turn the ball over, and I think it'll be even worse this season without Sean Payton at the helm. It's tough to win with a first year head coach, and while I think the Saints will be decent this year, I'm predicting them to finish 7-10 and just miss out on the playoffs again.
What do you think? Will New Orleans be better or worse than I'm projecting? What offseason moves made by the Saints surprised you the most? Leave a comment down below and be sure to check the "NFL" section of the website for more NFL team guidebooks as I finish them.
Written by Nick Swatson
Expert Nick Swatson discusses all the news, predictions, and outcomes surrounding the NFL.