2022 New Orleans Saints win totals: The Big Easy has a big wild card this season

The NFC South should be won with ease by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season. New Orleans looks like the next-best team, but there is a lot of debate as to how good this group actually is. 

For starters, it is hard to know who will be on the field. Running back Alvin Kamara is one of the most versatile and explosive players in the NFL, but it looks like he is going to miss some time at some point this season due to suspension. Top receiver Michael Thomas is still a question mark, too, as he recovers from injury.

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Last season, the Saints actually had one of the best defenses in the league. They finished fourth in points allowed at less than 20 points per game and seemed to outplay their personnel while benefitting from a lot of turnovers, which can be hard to count on from year to year. Even if they get a lot out of their offensive playmakers, they need the defense to be better than average if they are going to exceed their win total. The additions of safeties Marcus Maye and Tyrann Mathieu have upgraded their secondary, but their best player on defense is veteran defensive end Cameron Jordan who has been in the league for more than a decade. It is hard to lean on a guy like that too heavily.

This is going to be head coach Dennis Allen’s first season leading the team. Getting elevated from defensive coordinator looks like the smart play in terms of continuity, but there are not a lot of defensive coaches killing it in the league right now. 

New Orleans Saints win totals

Over 8.5 (+105)
Under 8.5 (-125)

Best Bet:  Under 8.5

You know I hate being with the majority, but I am not quite there with the potential of the Saints. It kind of feels like they are in a holding pattern right now. They are not going to dip too low, but the options they have at quarterback and coach are more adequate than inspiring. 

The Saints can declare their intention in the NFC South early on as their first three games are all against division opponents. In Week 1 they are at Atlanta, then home to Tampa Bay and then back on the road at Carolina. Those road games against weaker opponents are critical, and if they can get both of them, the over might look good early.

Next, they have a trip to London to take on Minnesota — which looks like a toss-up — and following that, they have elected not to take their bye week. Instead, they are home to Seattle — a game that would probably be a “gimme” under more normal scheduling circumstances but now looks like a potential loss even though the Seahawks are one of the worst teams in the league. 

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After that game, the schedule really stiffens. In a stretch of eight contests, they get both of the Super Bowl participants at home and three road games against playoff teams from a year ago. That is a tall order for any team, and with a guy like Jameis Winston at quarterback, you just never know when a four-interception game is about to happen. Mixed into this chunk of the season are a couple of toss-up games that become must-wins for the campaign to be meaningful.

New Orleans has a late bye week this season (December 12). The final four games of the schedule include home dates against Atlanta and Carolina (which should be wins), but visits to Philly and Cleveland when it is cold out — and those teams are desperate for wins — look like losses. 

This team won nine games a season ago, but I see regression in 2022. Against a lighter schedule, the Saints might have been able to stay more relevant. Even though their division is not strong, getting the NFC West and AFC North is doing them no favors.

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