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New Orleans Saints 2012 NFL Season Preview, Predictions

  • By NFL.com
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New Orleans Saints

www.neworleanssaints.com
2011 record: 13-3 (First in NFC South)

Fearless Forecast

  • Bucky Brooks

    Drew Brees will shoulder a bigger burden with Sean Payton suspended for the season, but he returns to lead an explosive offense that is deep and talented at every position. With few opponents capable of winning a shootout with the Saints, it is possible that their offense could single-handedly carry them to another division crown.
    Prediction: 11-5, first in NFC South

  • Daniel Jeremiah

    They will be without their head coach and a few key players, but as long as Drew Brees and his array of offensive weapons remain healthy this is still a very dangerous team.
    Prediction: 10-6, first in NFC South

  • Adam Schein

    Not having Sean Payton is a huge deal, but it is counterbalanced by the genius of Drew Brees.
    Prediction: 10-6, second in NFC South

  • Steve Wyche

    Amid the aftermath of the Bounty scandal, the defense and running game will actually support the passing game more. A key injury could burst the depleted Saints' bubble, though.
    Prediction: 10-6, first in NFC South

In The Spotlight
Drew Brees | #9 | QB

When is a quarterback not pivotal, right? But this one might just be the most important one in all of football. Saints head coach Sean Peyton is suspended for the whole season and interim head coach Joe Vitt is suspended for the first six games of the season. That this isn’t a team in turmoil is because of Brees, aka the stabilizing force, the coach on the field and maybe the best player in the league.

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3 Pivotal Games
Week 4 at Packers
The Saints don’t lose at the Superdome; two of their first three games are there and the other is at the Panthers, whom they swept twice by a combined score of 75-44 last season. That makes this Week 4 trip the first real test of the Bounty-ravaged Saints. It’s also a rematch of last year’s Week 1 heartbreaker, when the Packers stopped the Saints at the 1-yard line to preserve the win.
Week 12 vs. 49ers
Sticking with the rematch theme, this is the replay of the 36-32 divisional round game, won on a touchdown pass with nine seconds to play, by the 49ers. If the Saints overcome their various coaching permutations, this will be a key week.
Week 13 at Falcons
Just four days after that game in San Francisco, New Orleans will be down in Atlanta, to take on the division rival Falcons. Atlanta and Matt Ryan are hungry and this game might well decide the NFC South.

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