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We continue our month long preview extravaganza of the NFL. This week's focus is on the NFC South. Today, our attention is turned to the New Orleans Saints.
After reaching the NFC title game during the 2006 season, a lot of people had high hopes for the Saints to reach their first Super Bowl. However, the Saints experienced a bumpy start to the 2007 season.
The Saints started the regular season 0-4. They lost to the Colts, the Bucs, the Titans and the Panthers. In those four losses, the Saints gave up almost 30 points and were outscored 119-51.
The Saints made a comeback run, winning their next four games. By week 15, the Saints were still in the playoff hunt at 7-7. However, the Saints lost their final two games to miss the playoffs at 7-9.
To make matters worse, the Saints lost first string running back Deuce McAlister to an injury. This put the pressure on second overall pick from the 2006 draft, Reggie Bush. In 12 games, Bush ran for 581 yards with five rushing touchdowns. Bush also had eight total fumbles, which is among the worst in the league. With McAlister back, he will be able to take pressure off of the younger Bush.
The Saints recently added tight end Jeremy Shockey to the mix, trading away some draft picks to get the four time Pro Bowler. If Shockey can stay healthy (and with the program), the Saints will certainly have another air threat for quarterback Drew Brees.
In 2007, Brees had one of his best seasons ever as a quarterback. The two time Pro Bowler threw for more than 4000 yards in his second straight season with the Saints. Brees also threw 28 touchdowns, but gave up 18 interceptions. Brees has thrown for more than 8000 yards and 54 touchdowns in two seasons with the Saints. With Shockey added in the mix with Bush and Marques Colston, Brees has the chance to throw for 4000 yards this season.
The Saints also made a move in the offseason to improve their secondary by adding former Patriots defensive back Randall Gay. In some ways it's a homecoming because Gay grew up in Baton Rouge.
The Saints will open up the 2008 season at home when they face the division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For home games, the Saints will face San Diego, Minnesota and Oakland. For road games, the Saints will face Washington, Denver, Chicago and Kansas City.
Now it is time for the always magical, always popular, burnin' questions (yearbook style):
- Number of passing yards for Brees this season: 4219
- Touchdown passes for Brees: 33
- Jeremy Shockey will: Continue to be a team hazard (768 yards receiving, 6 touchdowns)
- Leading rusher for the Saints: Deuce McAlister (1089 yards, 10 touchdowns)
- Combined yards (rushing and receiving) for Reggie Bush: 1053 yards
- Number of games Kim Kardashian shows up to: Anywhere from 0 to 5
- Number of times her family shows up to the games: Hopefully 0, but with Bruce Jenner, it doesn't matter
- Coolest names (Top 3): Jermon Bushrod, Scott Fujita and Devery Henderson ( Will Smith gets honorable mention)
- '80s song that best describes team: Read 'em and Weep- Barry Manilow
- In 2008, the Saints will: Win the division, go 11-5