Team: New Orleans Saints
2017 Record: 11-5 (t-1st, NFC South)
2018 Record: 3-1 (1st, NFC South)
Outlook: The 2017 Saints won the NFC South on a tie-breaker, beat the Panthers for the third time in the first round of the playoffs, then came within an insane Stefon Diggs touchdown of making the NFC Championship game. Oh, and they also scored 15 points in the final three minutes of regulation to force overtime against the Redskins last November, a game New Orleans eventually won 34-31. This year, after a shocking shootout loss to the Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buccaneers, the Saints have won three straight.
Like the Packers’ Aaron Jones, New Orleans’ Mark Ingram helpfully comes off of a season-opening suspension the week his team plays Washington. Even without Ingram, star-in-the-making Alvin Kamara has already proven he’s dangerous enough on his own to put up big numbers week after week. And, of course, there’s Drew Brees, who is coming off the eleventh Pro Bowl season of his career. The Saints are currently #3 in points and #4 in yards in the NFL—and, again, that’s without Ingram.
Defensively, the Saints should be as good as they’ve been in a while. They posted the tenth-best scoring mark in the NFL last year, just one season after being 31st in that same category (and dead last the year before that). Anchored by All-Pro Cameron Jordan, the Saints held eight of their final 11 opponents to 21 points or fewer in 2017. That pattern hasn’t held in 2018, though, as New Orleans has given up 30.25 points per game so far.
How Worried Should We Be?: Pretty worried. Not as worried as I thought a couple of weeks ago, though. The Saints have a great offense. No doubt about it. But, right off the top, that soul-crushing loss last year did as much as any game to torpedoing the Redskins’ playoff hopes, so there’s a mild revenge factor in play. Coming off a bye helps, although Adrian Peterson and Josh Norman are still dealing with injuries as of this writing. Most importantly, except for a couple of lackluster moments against the Colts, the Redskins have looked pretty darn good, albeit with a small sample size. My big worry is that their wins featured superb first halves but some water-treading in the second. That can’t happen against an offense as dynamic as the Saints’. Washington will undoubtedly need to turn in an A-level performance to win in New Orleans, but my confidence in the Redskins’ ability to do that has increased. This is an uphill battle, but one Washington just might be poised to win.
How worried should the Redskins be about the New Orleans Saints?
This poll is closed
Not too worried