5 Reasons The Saints Will/Won’t Win On Monday Night
The New Orleans Saints open their 2017 regular season on Monday night, and it’s time to take a look at five reasons why they will win, and five reasons why they will lose.
The Saints will travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota to take on the Minnesota Vikings in the 2017 regular season opener for both teams.
Kickoff time is scheduled for 6:10 pm.
5 Reasons The Saints Will Win:
1)—Drew Brees: Brees led the NFL in passing yards-per-game in 2016, averaging 326.0 a contest. He had his best season since 2013, eclipsing 5,000 passing yards in a season for the fifth time in his career, and for the first time since that 2013 campaign. Even at age 38, he has shown no signs of slowing down, and always gives the Saints a chance to win.
2)—Cameron Jordan: He should have been named to the Pro Bowl last year. Just silly that he wasn't. Jordan rankedin the top five in the NFL lead with 17 tackles for loss and ranks in the top 10 with 23 quarterback hits, to go along with five batted passes. His problem is he only had 7.5 sacks. Still, his versatility is to his detriment. Jordan is a greatly underrated/underappreciated player. The Saints need to put pressure on Sam Bradford, and heir best bet to do that is Jordan. Look for Jordan, who has still never missed a game in his career, to be his normally reliable self, and look for him to have a monster year in 2017.
3)—Saints Win Streak Against Vikings: It now stands at 4, with the Saints outscoring the Vikings, 107-66, in the process. Minnesota just hasn't had the playmakers that New Orleans has had, as of late, and that will likely be the case this year. The more points that are scored, the more of an advantage it becomes for the Saints.
4)—Third Down Efficiency: New Orleans was tops in the league, converting on 48.0 of their third down conversions, last season. Minnesota wasn't nearly as good, converting on only 38.0 of their third down attempts, which ranked 25th. The Saints were outstanding all year in 2016, in terms of keeping drives going, and I expect them to be good again on Monday night, and all of this season.
5)—Mark Ingram: He had the best year of his career last season, rushing for 1,043 and 6 touchdowns, and keeps getting better. A lot of the focus is on Adrian Peterson, and his return to Minnesota, but forget the hoopla, Ingram is the guy, running against a tough Vikings' defense, that will be the most effective option. He may not rush for 100 yards, but look for him to have a solid performance, which is kinda the norm with him.
5 Reason the Saints Won’t Win:
1)—Minnesota Defense: The Vikings only allowed 19.2 points a game last season, the 6th fewest in the league, and only 314.9 total yards a contest, which ranked third. Through their first 13 games last season, they only allowed one opponent to score more than 25 points. Yards, let alone points, won't come easy for any team this year, even the Saints on Monday night.
2)—Chances Are The Game Will Come Down To One Score: Okay, New Orleans played 15 games last season, and 12 have been decided by 7 points or less. The Saints are good enough to hang in there with almost anybody, but not good enough to blow out most teams. Meanwhile, 6 of the Vikings' games last season were decided decided by a touchdown or less. Chances are, this game is going to be decided by 7 points, or less, and that makes it anybody’s ballgame.
3)—Willie Snead Unavailable: Snead was suspended for the first three games of the 2017 season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He was originally suspended for four games, but was reduced to three after an appeal. That will hurt. Not are the Saints without Snead, Snead finished the season with 72 receptions for 895 yards and four touchdowns last season, but also without Brandin Cooks, who was traded to the Patriots, after leading the team in receiving yards last season. So, the Saints will be without two of their top three receivers from a year ago. Not good, when you're going up against a good defense, like Minnesota's. Snead is also an experienced slot receiver that Brees trusts. His presence will unquestionably be missed.
4)—Saints Have Been Bad On MNF In Last Two Years: It wasn’t so long ago that opponents didn’t necessarily stand a chance when they faced the Saints on Monday Night Football. In the Sean Payton era, the black and gold have had 18 appearances on the ESPN national stage. After splitting their first four games, the Saints rattled off nine straight victories, outscoring opponents 326-179. But things have changes of late, with the Saints dropping ed four out of the last five matchups on Monday night.
5)—Special Teams: This one isn’t hard to figure out; the Saints ranked 31st (16.5) in terms of yards-per-kickoff return, while allowing the 11th-most in the league (22.8) last season. The Saints have been bad on special teams for the better part of a decade, and while I expect them to be better this year, I can't say I'm not still concerned, especially this early in the season. Monday night's game will like be close, and special teams could be the difference. If it is, the Saints could be in trouble.