The 2012 New Orleans Saints have had the quietest off season of any team in the NFL, unless you count that whole BountyGate thing. I’m sure by now, you’ve heard all about it: the suspensions of defensive coach Joe Vitt, defensive end Will Smith, general manager Mickey Loomis, linebacker Jonathan Vilma, and the biggest loss, in my opinion, head coach Sean Payton. Loomis also had to deal with the allegations that he spied on other teams from the skybox. All shameful stuff. It’s even more pitiful because the Saints had a good chance to contend for a Super Bowl appearance this year based on last season’s performance. They went 13-3, winning their last 8 regular season games, and losing a heartbreaker to the 49ers by 4 points in a divisional playoff game. The Saints also have one of the best most accurate passers in the game today. Speaking of said quarterback, he is embattled in a contract dispute, which puts the team in even more hot water. It’s definitely going to be an interesting season in New Orleans. Instead of Who Dat, it’s going to be What Now. Here’s more about the 2012 New Orleans Saints.
Fantasy Football Studs: The Saints are filled with fantasy football studs on their offense. Everything starts with QB Drew Brees, who had a record-breaking season last year. Brees racked up 5476 yards, breaking Dan Marino’s single season passing record. He also managed 46 passing TDs. Wow! Next up is TE Jimmy Graham, who would probably be the best tight end in the NFL if it wasn’t for that guy in New England. Graham had over 1300 receiving yards to lead all Saints, and 11 TDs, in just his second year in the league. The Saints have another 100o yard receiver in Marques Colston, who still has some of the best hands in the league, though he developed a slight fumbling problem last year. Still solid nonetheless. RB back Darren Sproles happens to be one of the best triple threats in the league. He can score from the backfield, lining up as a receiver, and as a returner on special teams. Every team needs a Sproles. The Saints also have some good role players like RBs Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, and Chris Ivory, and WRs Lance Moore and Devery Henderson. Any of these players can score for you, but they are not quite Stud status players. In fact (except for Sproles) I’m afraid of Saints running backs for Fantasy Football. That’s more of a testament to how versatile their offense really is!
Area of Strength: I would like to say that the entire Saints offense is the area of strength, but I will just focus on the passing game. Drew Brees is one of the most prolific passers in NFL history. He has a career passer rating of 94.0 and a career passing percentage of 66%. He has passed for over 4000 yards in his last 6 seasons, 2 of which were over 5000. He spreads the ball around, which can be frustrating to the fantasy owners of Saints receivers. Fantasy Football aside, it’s great because Brees will find the open man. Even if the man is covered, his pinpoint accuracy will still cause a completion. This Saints passing game is one of the best (if not THE best) in the NFL.
Area of Weakness: The Saints defense is not horrible, but it is the soft spot on the entire team. The defense is the main reason that the Saints didn’t move on in the playoffs last season, allowing Alex Smith of the 49ers to throw the game winning touchdown to Vernon Davis. As a matter of fact, except for the Indianapolis Colts, the Saints couldn’t stop anyone. The offense had to average over 30 points a game to win most of their games. Another reason why I was shocked about the whole bounty thing in the first place. Its not like they were really motivated and effective in stopping teams…Now, with the loss of their defensive coordinator for half the season, Vilma out for the entire season, and Smith also missing games, the Saints will continue to struggle on the defensive side of the ball.
Marquee Matchups: Aside from the important divisional games, the Saints have a few other games of note. Week 4 the Saints head to Wisconsin to face Aaron Rodgers and the Pack. In their 2nd Sunday night game of the season, the Saints visit Payton Manning in Denver Week 8. Week 9 is their only MNF game and they host Mike Vick and the Eagles. Week 12 the Saints will get another chance at Candlestick Park. Week 14 they head to NJ to face Superbowl Champion NY Giants. Then 2 days before Christmas, the Saints play America’s Team. Considering how competitive the division is, this will be a tough year for the Saints.
All Things New Orleans Saints: There are many ways to keep up with the New Orleans Saints but here are a few we like:
Apps: WhoDatApp for iPhone for $1.99 (by Calliope Digital, LLC) ; NOLA.com for iPhone (by NOLA.com) ; Bless You Boys for iPhone (by Belo Corp) ; WhoDat Chat for iPhone for $0.99 (by studio S software, LLC)