I’m kidding about just finding out about ‘Bountygate’, but this people aren’t talking about how this will affect the team. The media is focused on Jonathan Vilma’s appeal and what the legal ramifications are…but they are burying the lead. Their head coach and offensive guru Sean Payton is suspended for the season. Think about how your favorite team would fare without its head coach…if your a San Diego Chargers fan, your team would probably be better without Norv Turner, so this comparison doesn’t work with you.
How will ‘Bountygate’ affect the New Orleans Saints?
Key Additions: DT Brodrick Bunkley, QB Luke McCown, DT Akeim Hicks, WR Nick Toon, LB Chris Chamberlain, OG Ben Grubbs, S Corey White, LB David Hawthorne, LB Curtis Lofton, CB Elbert Mack and K John Kasay.
Key Losses: LB Jonathan Vilma (suspension), WR Robert Meachem, CB Tracy Porter, DT Shaun Rogers, OG Carl Nicks, RB Patrick Cobbs, DE Jeff Charleston, LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar, DT Aubrayo Franklin, TE Troy Humphrey, OT Pat McQuistan and WR Courtney Roby.
Non-Division Schedule: AFC West and NFC East
Fantasy Sleeper: WR Nick Toon – How many Saints receivers have you owned over the last three seasons? Drew Brees likes to spread it around with Lance Moore, Devery Henderson, and Marques Colston expected to catch the majority of his passes. Robert Meachem is no longer on the team and Toon is built like Colston. It is possible that they will use him in a similar capacity. .
Team Analysis: The Saints have been open by saying they will get by without head coach Sean Payton and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams this season. I would even argue that the defense will be better without Williams. They have some talented players in the secondary, but they were 30th in the league in opposing passing yards. Drew Brees will be the de factor offensive coordinator, even if someone else has the title. The Saints had a trial run without Payton calling the plays when he was out with a knee injury last season. They did well during that stretch, but going the entire season without his touch could be too much to overcome. The Saints have basically the same team minus wide receiver Robert Meachem and the suspended Jonathan Vilma. The NFC South will be better this year and the race will be heated with the Atlanta Falcons also vying for the division crown. I still think the Saints will make the playoffs, but I don’t see them making the Super Bowl without Payton.
2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 9.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 11-5