What is the outlook for the Saints in 2022?
By: Jake Rajala
The New Orleans Saints, also known as the Taysom Hill show, flashed an impressive, yet somewhat uncharacteristic victory against the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 39-32. The contest certainly required each faithful fan base to wear oxygen masks.
After starting 1-3, the highly motivated Dennis Allen ignited his team to pull out with a win today. The Saints sit at 2-3, which is second in the NFC South (behind the 3-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as they pulled out with a victory today against their archnemesis, the Atlanta Falcons). With that said, an intriguing, joyful, and realistic question surrounds Who Dat Nation right now: can the Saints still make the playoffs?
I am not a clairvoyant, but I actually foresee the 2-3 Saints punching a ticket to the playoffs this season. It should be noted that the Saints have leaned on an injured Jameis Winston and an absent Michael Thomas over the prior two weeks. They will gladly welcome back their QB1 and Michael Thomas — who was on fire in Week 1 with two touchdown grabs. If it’s clear that Winston isn’t in-synch, taking too many unnecessary sacks, or missing wide-open targets on first and second down, they can rely on their above-average backup in the Red Rifle to manage his potent weapons.
Most importantly, the rookie WR Chris Olave is improving his craft each week and it’s clear that he is on track to win OROY. He did suffer a concussion against the Seahawks, but he should be available in 1-2 weeks. The former Ohio State WR has a touchdown catch in each of his past two match-ups.
Taysom Hill ousted four total touchdowns today and it’s clear that he’s benefiting from improved blocking from Cesar Ruiz, Andrus Peat, and Erik McCoy (who inked an extension this summer). Hill’s improved performance from the QB spot should help Winston make a smoother transition moving forward.
The Saints pass rush has started to crank up over the past two games, as well. Cameron Jordan (of course) has knocked out two sacks over the past two match-ups.
On the horizon, the Saints have a favorable schedule in my humble opinion. They clash with the 2-2 Cincinnati Bengals, (projected Bengals win), 2-3 Arizona Cardinals (projected Saints win), the 1-3 Las Vegas Raiders (projected Saints win), Baltimore Ravens (projected Ravens win), the Pittsburgh Steelers (projected Saints win), the Los Angeles Rams (projected Saints win/upset), the San Francisco 49ers (projected Saints win), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (projected Saints win), the 2-3 Atlanta Falcons (projected Saints win) the Cleveland Browns (projected Browns win), the Philadelphia Eagles (projected Eagles win), and the Carolina Panthers (projected Saints win).
I believe that the Saints can oust 10 wins this season and ultimately be one of the NFC wildcard teams in the end. They have a somewhat brutal slate of games against AFC North & NFC West squads moving forward. Nonetheless, the Saints will certainly improve their continuity with their loaded roster, win a few more shoot-out contests, and undoubtedly not be swept by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers.