Which New Orleans Saints Team Is the Real One? 

Saints Team

After two weeks, it’s hard to get a read on the 2021 New Orleans Saints. At 1-1, the Saints looked like one of the best teams in the league in Week 1, and one of the worst in Week 2. After an offseason full of turnover, it’s time to ask which Saints team will be the real one for the remainder of the season. 

Is This New Orleans Saints Team Good or Bad?

What Went Wrong In Week 2

Just about everything that could go wrong with the Saints, did go wrong. After COVID-19 forced six coaches to miss Week 2’s contest, the Saints simply couldn’t move the ball on offense and couldn’t stop Carolina on defense. 

The good news is that the struggles shouldn’t be this bad every single week. Obviously, missing coaches is going to make it harder to win games, and that doesn’t even take into account the roster’s massive injury woes. The defense, in particular, had several key starters miss Week 2’s action, so the unit should improve in time.

The offense, on the other hand, could be a serious concern. The offensive line had a rough day last week, but that was probably just an outlier. From left to right, it’s hard to think of a more talented group in football. As far as protection is concerned, this team should be fine. Of course, there’s more to offensive football than just good blocking.

Jameis Winston has always been a hot-and-cold quarterback, and this supporting cast isn’t going to make his life any easier. Sean Payton is easily the best coach he’s ever had, but coaching can only do so much. At some point, players need to play, and it’s hard to get much out of a receiving core led by Marquez Callaway. Alvin Kamara is obviously fantastic, but the running back can only do so much on his own. 

While Week 2 will probably be the low point of the Saints season, it’s safe to say that this team isn’t as good as they looked in Week 1. Moving forward, the Saints should have a good defense, one of the better coaching staffs in the league, and an average to slightly below offense, at least until Michael Thomas returns. Given that formula, do the Saints have a realistic shot at the playoffs? 

Looking At the Saints Playoff Odds

The biggest need on this roster is at the wide receiver position, and help is on the way. Michael Thomas will be back sooner or later so, for the sake of this article, let’s assume that Thomas comes back for Week 7’s matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. Since he’s coming back from injury and probably won’t be 100%, let’s also assume that Thomas plays at a level similar to 2020, rather than his fantastic standard set in 2018 and 2019. 

Chances are, the Saints aren’t going to be able to win the division. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are arguably the best team in football, and quarterback Tom Brady looks like he’s about to win yet another MVP. This means that the Saints are probably fighting for a wild card, but this is an obtainable goal. The NFC isn’t the strongest this year, which means the Saints should have a decent shot at the seventh seed. Most of the best teams are in the NFC West, and they should be able to slow each other down enough to open a spot for the Saints. 

The biggest question comes from how good they can be without Thomas. Thanks to an early bye week, New Orleans will only play three more games before Thomas is eligible to return. They should be able to comfortably beat the New York Giants, while matchups against the New England Patriots and Washington Football Team could go either way.

If they can split these matchups and start out 3-2, then they should have decent odds of taking one of the final wild card spots. There is a good amount of talent on this roster, and Jameis Winston is a competent starter, if nothing else. That’s all a great coach like Sean Payton needs to get his team playing January football.

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