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Editorial / Opinion

The New Orleans Saints, NFC South Predictions, and the “Definition of Insanity”

When it comes to Pre-Season predictions in advance of the upcoming 2018 NFL season for the New Orleans Saints this year; there have been a few instances so far when an NFL analyst has made an observation that either seems to defy the parameters of logic or simply doesn't meet up with the standard of actual reality.

That's particularly been the case for the Saints when it comes to forecasting their future success or failure within the confines of their own division; the very same NFC South division where New Orleans had an (11-5) record and won the division championship during last year's memorable "bounce back" season in 2017 which followed 3 straight years of (7-9) losing seasons from 2014 to 2016.

Not everyone is convinced that the Saints can repeat last season's success, and that's a fair observation to make but only if the facts support that assessment.

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

However, there are some instances where an observation simply boggles the mind; and makes one wonder to themselves: "what are you looking at?"

Some folks (Saints fans especially) likely would refer to it by the popular phrase 'the definition of insanity'.

The latest instance came a few days ago when the website "The Comeback" published an article with some Pre-Season Predictions for the NFC South for the upcoming 2018 season ahead.

If you're weren't familiar with their site until reading about it right now, "The Comeback" was launched in 2015 as a companion site to the popular Internet site "Awful Announcing" — one of the most talked about and linked blogs on the Internet.

Earlier this week, they put out some interesting observations that would seem to question whether they truly are committed to covering the sport of Pro Football accurately or not.

Specifically, their observation by writer Adam Patrick regarding Saints QB Drew Brees.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

In his article about which teams in the division will be better or worse this year compared to last season, Patrick says some things about Brees that most other NFL observers would tell you, are inherently false.

Mind you, this is the same Drew Brees that set the NFL record last year for completion percentage in a single season, at a remarkable 72% ratio despite being nearly 40 years old (in a few more months from now).

Now while Brees certainly isn't a spry young 25-year old anymore, the notion that he is some sort of a downward trend or is about to undergo a period of steep decline, doesn't seem likely yet.

Sure, Brees will experience a physical decline inevitably at some point, but this idea that's it already been happening and was occurring last season, just doesn't seem to be supported by the actual facts.

Here's exactly what Patrick had to say about Brees and the Saints, and his view on how good the Saints will be (or in this case won't be) for the upcoming 2018 season:

"Drew Brees has been the face of the Saints franchise for more than a decade now. The quarterback joined New Orleans back in 2006 and all he has done is lead the team to six appearances in the playoffs, four division titles, and one Super Bowl win."

"However, at age 39, Brees’ career with the Saints seems to be nearing the end. Last year, the quarterback finished with the fewest single-season passing yards (4,334) and touchdowns (23) during his tenure with New Orleans."

"The Saints seem to be pretty aware of Brees not being the player he once was as the team shifted to a more run-focused offense last season. Although, New Orleans may ask more from the quarterback during the early part of 2018 as Saints running back Mark Ingram is suspended for the first four games of the season."

"If Brees’ numbers continue to trend downward in 2018, it could be a struggle for New Orleans to get back into the playoffs."

Prediction: Worse in 2018

What? With all due respect to Patrick and "The Comeback" website, that observation could not be any more further off from the actual truth, and it certainly falls outside of the bounds of reality.

There's NO WAY you could have watched the Saints at all last season, and not come away with the idea that the reason why Brees' numbers were down yardage-wise was because of the bigger commitment to the running game, specifically the addition of now 2nd year RB Alvin Kamara.

Photo courtesy of Bill Feig, The Associated Press

You don't have to be a freaking rocket scientist to understand that the reason why Brees' productivity in the numbers department were down was because he WASN'T FORCED TO THROW THE BALL NEARLY AS MUCH.

That was clearly the case for Brees for most of the entire 2017 season; thanks to the team's renewed commitment to running the ball more along with a huge improvement overall last year by the Saints defense.

Sheesh.

I mean seriously — did this guy actually watch ANY of the games that the Saints played last season?

Not surprisingly, Patrick feels that the 'other' premier passer within the NFC South is primed and poised for big things ahead.

Regarding Falcons QB Matt Ryan, Patrick says that the Atlanta signal-caller will will have another option to throw to in 2018 with former University of Alabama wide receiver and top draft pick Calvin Ridley; and he believes it gives the Falcons "one of the most lethal passing attacks in the entire league".

Photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports

While I'd be the last person to try and tell you that the Falcons won't be better this year because of the addition of Ridley into their offensive scheme, I still wouldn't think that it makes them the absolutely overwhelming favorite to win the division, not by any stretch. 

I'd counter-argue that the Saints were probably only one more key contributor or star player away on defense from winning it all last year, and they just might have found that player a few months ago in top draft pick Marcus Davenport.

Cover photo courtesy pf Athlon Sports

In any event, I'd suspect that the annual Athlon Pro Football Preview that comes out every Summer and the same one that many football fans have been reading religiously since the early 1970's (including myself back when I was a young kid and attended the Saints games with my "Paw Paw" at the old Tulane Stadium in uptown New Orleans), has a much more accurate assessment of the Saints' likely fortunes in 2018.

In their article on Brees and the Saints that was just released on yesterday (click HERE to read), Athlon says that Drew Brees and the Saints appear primed to make another Super Bowl run.

If you're too lazy to "click" that Link, then here's what they say specifically about New Orleans' chances for the upcoming 2018 NFL season, in the article's closing Final Analysis:

 

At least somebody seems to know what they're talking about.

But nevertheless, such is life — and the state of NFL Pre-Season Predictions in the Sports Media world — in the year of 2018.

Not everyone views the New Orleans Saints franchise through the same set of eyes as you or I do.

(Scott Clause/The Daily Advertiser via AP)

It would be nice if they did, but there are 31 other NFL teams out there; and 31 other fan-bases worth full of different people; each of whom will always have different takes on what they believe is (or isn't) the closest thing to their very own perception of truth or actual reality.

Regardless, in some cases you still just have to wonder out loud to yourself: "what in the heck they were they looking at?"

For a lack of a better term: you could even refer to it as "the definition of insanity".............

Saints News Network Editor / Featured Columnist and Lead Analyst Barry Hirstius is a 50-year old semi-retired journalist and former New Orleans area sports editor and columnist previously with several sites that exclusively cover the New Orleans Saints NFL football team. Additionally, he is a frequent guest on a variety of Sports Talk Radio programs that cover the Saints. Barry is also a New Orleans native that dating all the way back to his childhood in the early 1970's, attended games at the old Tulane Stadium and grew up as a long-time Saints fan; following and now covering the team for a span of over 40 plus years. And perhaps most importantly of all: he is the Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity.......

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