The Saints defense was terrible last year and a big reason why the team was not that good. I totally could be wrong but I have reason to believe they're defense will be much better (still bottom half of the league but still significantly improved from near last). It's rare you don't see most of the best and worst NFL defenses revert to the mean.Hunter Morrow wrote:If we don't win by at least a touchdown I am off the dark horse SB winner in their own house purple Kool Aid. The New Orleans Saints went 7-9 in 4 of its last 5 seasons, including the last three in a row, for a pretty simple reason: The team just isn't that good. If we are a real deal team we win by at least seven points.
Fleener has his second year with Brees, Michael Thomas in his 2nd year equals a step forward statistically and they add Ted Ginn who can open things up underneath and clear out room and they move Snead to the slot... not to mention additions in Adrian and Alvin Kamara. The Saints offense could set record this year if they've can get good tight end play (which I'm not totally convinced they can) ... even if they don't their offense will still probably be top 5.
[[Edit:I wasn't really thinking at the time I wrote this that Brandin Cooks was traded away, that puts a little more pressure on Michael Thomas and Willie Snead but Ted Ginn still make their transition into bigger pieces of the offense a little easier, so I may have overestimated the Saints strength]]
This Saints team is not last year's Saints team. I believe the Saints will be very good this year.
Then there is the matchup. Even if the Saints aren't very good like I think, it is only because their defense.
It's totally possible that our team is still not built to score TDs in the redzone and only win close, defensive style games of field position. It's totally possible that this strategy will work successfully against 90% of all teams but the overpowered offense and terrible defense teams will be a little tougher as a matchup because our offense still may not be able to score TDs and we are still putting the game on the defense with as good of field position as the offense can muster.
In my opinion:
This Vikings team is unlike last year built to get STRONGER as the year goes on. The depth is incredible including the practice squad. It is important that we get a few wins early, but if we can hang on I think we have a good chance of finishing really strong. We get Teddy back even as a backup that will be a good emotional win for the Vikings. We get Floyd back and that is a personnel gain. I think Treadwell will have some significance at some point this year and he isn't young enough to still be getting better as time goes on. We have rookie OL playing as a totally new unit that just recently figured out where to play with minimal contact allowed during practice and they will take several games to gel and really play together as a group.
Entire OL: set to improve as the year goes on.
TE: Rudolph may stay the same or regress, other TEs should improve... really disappointed we don't have Bucky Hodges this year though.
WR:Every WR position except Floyd is young, but Floyd's suspension and new status without the team means he improves team from week 1 to week 17. Thielen is the only veteran who arguably doesn't have as much room for improvement but given he is only just learning the starting role I can still see some improvement possible.
QB:Bradford probably still has room for improvement having a full offseason for the first time with the team and he should in time start gelling with a lot of young WRs and QBs dont age like other positions. And I get the argument that Teddy coming back could be a distraction and QB controversy and players preferring Teddy but Teddy coming back I think is positive for the team and major moral boost they need after 6 weeks or more even if Bradford remains the starter.
RB: Dalvin Cook is a rookie and should begin improving in the area of run blocking and adapting to NFL speed. Latavius New with the team and hasn't spent much time with #1s in practice because of injury. McKinnon no change.
FB:CJ Ham is new to the position and a 2nd year player who should improve over this season.
So the entire offense really should get stronger as the year goes on if we stay healthy.
DL is mostly going to stay the same but they are deep enough to weather some injuries better than most in the NFL. Hunter is an amazing player who I think can still get better. Griffin and Linval Jospeh are fully matured as a talent. Stephen Weatherly is improving and Jaleel Johnson is certainly improving. Shamar Stephen I think is still likely to improve. B-Rob and Tom Johnson are probably in decline at their ages.
Oh, and if somehow Sherrif Floyd can fire his muscle again he can probably get back in playing shape in a few weeks and that will really help our DL.
LBers are all young enough where they should still be improving as the year progresses.
CB:Rhodes is probably at the top of his game or near it already. Wayne's is improving, Mackenzie Alexander is improving. Tremaine Brock new to the team, going to get coached up by Zimmer and improve as he goes. Objectively Newman and Sherrels should* be in decline. Apparently they didn't get the memo as Newman found the fountain of youth and Sherrels is a top special teamer.
Safeties you can probably say Harrison Smith is a tough the top of his game or near it. Sandejo's probably as good as Sandejo can be. Jayron Kearse and Anthony Harris are young and upcoming depth.
We are not immune to injuries but I think we are still in a better position than most teams at a number of positions.
I think we need to reduce the number of times players workout a week and possibly change the philosophy altogether if injuries keep stacking up. Even if it is more effective at building muscle mass, what good is additional strength if the players have to play at less than 100% because of injury anyways?