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NFL

NFL 2022-23: Can the New Orleans Saints make the playoffs this season?

Without coach Sean Peyton on the sidelines, the New Orleans Saints are about to enter a new era in which their defense will determine how far they can go.

Ariel Velázquez
Estados UnidosUpdate:
Without coach Sean Peyton on the sidelines, the New Orleans Saints are about to enter a new era in which their defense will determine how far they can go.
Bob LeveyAFP

The New Orleans Saints are preparing a campaign without Drew Brees and Sean Payton for the first time since 2007- two key components that were a fundamental part of the machinery that achieved the first, and until now only Vince Lombardi trophy in the history of the franchise.

Veteran defensive coordinator Dennis Allen took over the captaincy of a ship that started with salary cap problems when it was $75 million over the limit, and with the question of who the starting quarterback would be. In a few weeks time, the Saints front office managed to unravel some cliffhangers and retained Jameis Winston to play the most important position in the game under Pete Carmichael, who will be tasked with bringing back the efficiency of the team’s offense.

Dennis Allen will get his second chance as head coach of an NFL team
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Dennis Allen will get his second chance as head coach of an NFL teamBob LeveyAFP

Allen will get his second chance as head coach of an NFL team after being in charge of the Raiders program for three seasons (8-28). Many question Allen’s offensive ability- in 2021, the Saints finished in 28th place in terms of offense with the fewest yards produced, a place that the franchise had not had since the time of Mile Ditka. This was a far cry from the standards to which fans have become accustomed during the era of Brees and Payton.

Related story: Colts 2022 NFL preview, schedule: Matt Ryan could spur AFC South also-rans to playoffs

Winston will have the task of converting the Saints offense into one of the most explosive. The quarterback is coming off a torn cruciate ligament that ended his season last year. And that won’t be Carmichael’s only hurdle. There is still a chance versatile running back Alvin Kamara will receive a suspension for the assault incidents he was involved in in Las Vegas over Pro Bowl weekend that led to his arrest.

To clear the salary cap, New Orleans agreed to let go of left tackle Terron Armstead and defensive back Marcus Williams, greatly easing the chaos.

If Winston becomes a good game manager, the Saints could return to the postseason bracket thanks to their defensive department. Maybe Winston will open up more this season with Michael Thomas back and the offense adding Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry.

The organization’s narrative has changed, and defense is now the core they seek to move up with. The Saints ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in nearly every meaningful defensive stat last season. They lost safety Marcus Williams, but that spot should be fine with the additions of Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye.

The Saints dealt with many issues this offseason, and while they don’t have a Super Bowl-caliber team right now, they’re on track to be a contender for an NFC wild-card spot.

New Orleans Saints

Record in 2021: 9-8

Stadium: Caesars Super Bowl

Super Bowl Titles: 1

Head coach: Dennis Allen

Offensive Coordinator: Pete Carmichael

Defensive Coordinator: Ryan Nielsen and Kris Richard

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