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Jeff's 2023-24 NFL NFC Spotlight Team

By: Jeff Hochman
Date: Aug 3, 2023
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New Orleans Saints (2022: 7-10 SU, 7-10 ATS)

Despite initial skepticism, the Saints made a smart move by signing Derek Carr in the offseason. Last season, Carr had a better QBR (55.5) than Andy Dalton (50.7) and Jameis Winston (32.8), proving his aptitude as a consistent player. The Saints have a good chance of achieving a winning record, thanks to Carr's proficiency as their quarterback and a capable group of supporting players.

New Orleans has a talent advantage over their divisional opponents, and their schedule is in their favor. They have an excellent opportunity to boost their record early on as they start the year with games against the Titans, Panthers, Packers, and Buccaneers. Towards the end of the year, they will face the Rams, Buccaneers, and Falcons, who may be struggling at that point in the season, giving the Saints a significant advantage. It's important to mention that Carr consistently performs better in dome games. This upcoming season, he'll have the chance to play in 12 indoor games, which could be a potential advantage for him and the team.

Derek Carr, the renowned quarterback, has recently relocated from Sin City to Cajun Country. His move to the Saints has come when the team is making significant strides. At the same time, their divisional rivals need help to identify viable solutions and experiment with untested players in critical positions. The Saints have had some issues with depth due to lackluster draft classes. However, there is current talk that this year's draft picks are the best they've had in quite some time. Interestingly, Saints head coach Dennis Allen personally selected Derek Carr from Fresno State when he was the Raiders head coach in 2014.

Last season, the Saints' five-year winning streak ended, and now they are back on the field with a determined attitude. Thanks to their acquisition of QB Derek Carr during the offseason, they are my top pick to win the competitive NFC South. Out of all the teams in the division, the Saints were the only ones to upgrade their quarterback position during the offseason. There may be some challenges for Bryce Young from Carolina as he adjusts to his rookie season. Additionally, concerns have been raised about his size (5'10", 204 pounds) and whether he can maintain good health for 17 games. Although New Orleans had a solid offensive line, ranking in the top 12, their defensive line play needed to be improved, coming in at No. 20. However, they have enhanced their defense through the draft.

The team's defense has received a lot of praise lately for their noticeable improvement. Additionally, there is a sense of optimism surrounding Michael Thomas' return to full health. This should work well with Carr's style of play. The offense can potentially be explosive with the upgraded quarterback, especially if Michael Thomas is at his best. Chris Olave's ability to break through defenses will also contribute to the team's success. I am impressed with the RB rotation of Alvin Kamara, Jamaal Williams, and 3rd round draft pick Kendre Miller. Additionally, with Taysom Hill's versatile skills, he can now be utilized in a more comfortable offensive integration. The Saints finished last season ranked No. 19 in DVOA, which could be attributed to poor QB efficiency. There are positive signs suggesting better times are on the horizon!

Jeff’s New Orleans Saints Prediction: (10-7 SU, 11-6 ATS)


  Jeff Hochman
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