August 31, 2010 5:53 AM
Just because I'm not picking the Saints to repeat as Super Bowl champions doesn't mean I am not impressed by them.
I saw it in Week 4 last year when they played the Jets - they were a solid football team - and the entire sports world saw it when they went on to win the Super Bowl in February.
To do that again would mean the Saints had an(other) amazing season.
I'm not saying it's impossible - I'm just saying they won't. Here's why.
Drew Brees is an excellent quarterback. But what stood out the most to me about the Saints' passing game in 2009 was that the receivers never dropped a pass. Everything Brees threw found a receiver...and whether that's due to the way Brees throws or the talent of his receivers, it's a big part of why the offense is so explosive.
And explosive it was. As they started the season 13-0, the Saints had a couple of runs where their offense put up ridiculous numbers. Four of their first six wins saw them put up 45 or more points. They scored 30 or more in 9 of their 13 wins, and then again in their three post-season wins. And right up there in the category of "Impressive Feats By The 2009 Saints" is the fact that their defense was just as explosive as their offense.
The catch for the 2010 Saints is they face a much more difficult schedule than they did a year ago. The NFC South isn't the most grueling division in football, but the Falcons should be better than they were a year ago and give the Saints a run. The Saints open the season in Minnesota, and also play at Dallas. They play the AFC North, and the two toughest teams in that division - the Bengals and Ravens - are road games late in the year. Add to that a late bye - the Saints don't have an off week until Week 10.
Again, I'm not saying it's impossible. But a repeat championship is very difficult. And for the Saints to get to that point in 2010, they will have earned it.
2010 Prediction: 11-5, 2nd Place in NFC South (2nd NFC Wild Card)