I'm going to be discussing several bold predictions I have for the 2013 New Orleans Saints. I was mulling over the idea of doing this article last week, but decided to wait on it so I could try to piece together my thoughts better. Let's jump right in!
1. Rob Ryan will make the Saints' defense AT LEAST a top 15 defense in his first year as defensive coordinator – After exposing myself to several different types of media (videos, articles, etc), I believe the vibe around the Saints' locker room is booming. That kind of vibe can carry a team and motivate them to do special things. With the addition of Keenan Lewis, among other additions, I think the Saints can be very good defensively.
2. Kenny Vaccaro will be in the running for Defensive Rookie of the Year - I've watched a lot of highlights of this dude over the past couple weeks and his tape doesn't lie. He sometimes gets caught giving up a big play but more often than not, he's MAKING the big play. Whether it's in run support or pass defense, this dude can play some ball. I think if he's used correctly in Rob Ryan's system, he will be a front runner for Defensive ROY. The pickup of Vaccaro is growing on me really fast.
3. Joe Morgan will not be a starter at the end of the year – I feel like with as much progress as Morgan has been making to be a starter in this offense, he's still too inconsistent. He's a good deep threat and everything, don't get me wrong, but it seems to me that he'll go underground for a couple games and then emerge and then go underground again. Brees and the Saints' offense really doesn't need that, especially now in such a crucial point that they are in now. I look to Stills to compete hard for that starting job and eventually win it outright.
4. Saints running game will look similar to 2009's running game- Sean Payton is back, and that means there will be a whole lot more discipline and accountability. 2009's running game for the Saints was ranked 6th (if I'm not mistaken, which I don't think I am) and was a great compliment to an elite passing offense. 2013 will be similar in the fact that the passing offense will still be elite as ever but with a better running game than the past couple of years. Ingram is coming off a decent season and will resemble Mike Bell of 2009. PT will be PT. Sproles will be like the Reggie Bush of 2009 minus a lot of the carries that Bush had.
5. The Saints will WIN the NFC South – Even Saints fans are probably saying "Okay…I don't know about that one." but I think the Falcons are overrated (possibly the most overrated out of anyone in the NFL) and the Buccaneers are coming up quickly but not quite there yet. This would be the perfect time for Sean Payton to regain control of the NFC South while everyone else is in flux. Saints have shown they own the Falcons over the years. The Buccaneers will be the tallest task for the Saints in the upcoming seasons which is why I'm putting them finishing second in the division.
6. Sean Payton will be up for Coach of the Year - If Sean Payton can right this ship into a Super Bowl contender in 2013, I honestly believe he will be nominated (if not win) Coach of the Year. That would prove to everyone that Payton has had a Peyton Manning-like impact on this team. "