The New Orleans Saints won the NFC South seven times under former head coach Sean Payton from 2006 to 2021. Entering the 2022 season, New Orleans will be without Payton on the sidelines when he retired this offseason. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers enter this season as the favorites to repeat as NFC South champions. However, one NFL analyst feels that New Orleans will be the division winner this year over quarterback Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.
On the ESPN morning show First Take, NFL analyst Bart Scott picked New Orleans to win the division over Tampa Bay, noting the greatness of quarterback Jameis Winston:
“But I tell you what the team that I am really bold on this year is the New Orleans Saints. I tell you what the New Orleans Saints. 4-1 against Terrific Tom with Trevor Simeon and Taysom Hill. Jameis Winston has got a array of weapons, Super Bowl caliber defense, you talk about, you know, just the ability to be multiple offensively and shut you down on defense. It is a physical defensive side ."
"I think people are going to understand the greatness of Jameis Winston… Environments matter and he's in a perfect environment for him to thrive.”
The Saints signed Winston following the conclusion of the 2019 season. He appeared in just four games in the 2020 season as a backup to future Hall of Famer Drew Brees. After Brees retired following the season, Winston became New Orleans' new starting signal-caller last season.
He started seven games for New Orleans in 2021 but suffered a season-ending knee injury versus Tampa Bay in Week Eight.
Can the Saints win the NFC South in 2022?
Without question, New Orleans is behind the Buccaneers as favorites to win the NFC South. General manager Mickey Loomis has made some key offseason acquisitions. This includes signing five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry and three-time All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu.
Their defense remains at the top end of the league and their offense improved in this year’s NFL draft. The team selected receiver Chris Olave of Ohio State and tackle Trevor Penning of Northern Iowa in the first round.
If Tampa Bay starts out the season on a slow start and the Saints can string along a few wins, they can keep pace. Also, a healthy Jameis Winston is key if New Orleans wants any shot at winning this division. They could be without running back Alvin Kamara for the start of the season. The running back was charged with battery assault after an incident in Las Vegas in February this year.
Let’s see what Winston and New Orleans can do this upcoming season to challenge Tampa Bay for the NFC South crown.
If you use any of the above quotes, please credit First Take and H/T Sportskeeda.
Poll : Can the Saints win the NFC South over the Buccaneers?