Will the Saints Go Marching to Wins?

Saints Win Total- 8 (over -150) (under +130)

The Saints are an interesting team on paper. Overall, their roster does include quite a few talented players. The purpose of this article is to see if there is a bet to be made on the win total for the New Orleans Saints. Will the Saints win more than eight games this season?



When analyzing an NFL team heading into the season, the quarterback is the most important position to examine. Vegas tells us this when they change a line, sometimes up to nine or 10 points, when one of the key quarterbacks is out for any particular game.

Jameis Winston is currently slated to be the starting quarterback for the Saints, but he suffered a torn ACL during a Week 8 matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the 2021 season. Many have speculated whether or not Winston will be ready for the start of the season. His viral workouts suggest he is on the right track but working out and playing in an NFL game are two very different things.

Jameis Winston Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

It’s hard to gauge how well Winston played last year given the shortened season, but there are a few things we can note. One, if we copy and paste his numbers from a season ago, it’s not bad. It’s actually really good. The Saints were 5-2, and Winston threw 14 touchdowns to just three interceptions. He only completed 59-percent of his passes, but his 64.4 QBR would have put him, wait for it, ranked ahead of Matthew Stafford and Patrick Mahomes! Also, Winston’s true quarterback rating of 105.2 would have easily put him ahead of Mahomes.

Winston’s Health

When Winston went down with his ACL injury, the team was 5-2. After the injury, the Saints finished the season 4-6, which was good for a 9-8 record. Remember, the Trevor Siemian and Taysom Hill experiments? Likely, without Winston, the Saints endured some of the worst quarterback play in the league and still managed to finish the season with a record above .500.

What does all of this mean? It means that Winston is not as good as Mahomes. However, he’s not as bad as some people think either. His health is a factor I cannot predict. It is likely Winston misses games in 2022, so looking to the backup, Andy Dalton, may not be a bad idea.

Andy Dalton

Dalton proved to be a serviceable, albeit below average, starting quarterback in his time with the Bears last season. During his starts, the Bears record was 3-3, and Dalton threw eight touchdowns and nine interceptions with a QBR of 33.6. This QBR mark was by far the lowest of Dalton’s career. Over the last five seasons, Dalton has averaged a QBR of 45.2, so this is likely the mark he will hit if he starts at quarterback for the Saints this season.  When we compare that number to Siemian or Hill, we find that Siemian’s QBR was 35.5 and Hill’s QBR was 42.5 last season. Based on these numbers, the Saints should have a slight upgrade at the backup quarterback position if Winston misses time.

When Winston is healthy, it’s fair to say he is either the second or third-best quarterback in the division. Clearly, the number one spot belongs to Tom Brady, but it’s fair to point out the Saints did beat the Buccaneers last season largely without Winston under center. The other two division opponents are the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers. Atlanta will be relying on Marcus Mariota, and Carolina is likely going to start newly acquired Baker Mayfield. This move likely won’t shift the win total market too much although it is a clear upgrade for the Panthers.


Outside of the Cleveland Browns, the New Orleans Saints might have the most uncertain situation on the offensive side of the ball. Michael Thomas isn’t a lock to be healthy by the beginning of the year, and Alvin Kamara is likely to be suspended for about six games. This is not good for the Saints, but New Orleans did add some talent on the offensive side of the ball. The Saints moved up to draft Chris Olave in the first round of the NFL draft, and they signed Jarvis Landry in free agency. Those two will likely be the top pass catching options in the offense. Those are the moves everyone knows about. Let’s talk about some of the acquisitions that may surprise your buddies.

Chris Olave Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

The Saints also quietly drafted Trevor Penning in the first round of the NFL draft. Penning is a left tackle who is slated to start day one and should ease the loss of Terron Armstead in free agency. This is not ideal, however, as starting a rookie left tackle most likely will have some growing pains. It’s fair to say the Saints offensive line has some nice pieces such as Andrus Peat and Ryan Ramczyk, but the unit won’t be as good as it was a season ago. Currently, PFF has the offensive line ranked as the No. 21 unit in the NFL.

Miscellaneous Pieces

The Saints also added Mark Ingram to their backfield likely as Kamara insurance. This move doesn’t mean much other than some added depth in the backfield, but it is a player the organization is comfortable with, nonetheless.

I’ve already mentioned Andy Dalton, but it bears repeating this is an upgrade to their backup situation a year ago. Dalton is still serviceable as a backup and will be able to come in and provide more than Siemian or Hill could. Outside of Taysom Hill moving to tight end or Marquez Callaway potentially being an X-factor on the outside, there isn’t much else to say about the offense. It’s fair to say this unit has more questions than answers, which puts us bettors in a frustrating position. The most likely conclusion is this unit will be average to below average in 2022.


The Saint’s defense was excellent a season ago. They ranked No. 4 in the NFL in total points allowed per game at 19.7. They were especially good in the red zone as they ranked No. 1 in the NFL in both red zone touchdowns allowed and red zone touchdown percentage. This unit should be good again in 2022.

The Saints are bringing back most of their starters including their top two pass rushers Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport. Jordan totaled 12.5 sacks in 2021 which tied him for No. 10 in the league amongst defensive players. Davenport totaled nine sacks which ranked him No. 24 in that category amongst defensive players. According to pro-football-reference, the Saints ranked No. 18 in sacks with 37 total, No. 21 in the NFL in pressures with 145, No. 11 in times the opposing quarterback was pressured per drop back with 25-percent, and No. 14 in the NFL in quarterback hurries with 61.

The Secondary

The Saints will be returning most of the secondary players as well. Marshawn Lattimore has proven to be an excellent cornerback, and the addition of Tyrann Mathieu would be a boost to any secondary. Mathieu is projected to play alongside strong safety Marcus Maye. Other secondary players such as C.J Gardner-Johnson, Paulson Adebo, and Bradley Roby have also contributed to a strong secondary. In a passing league, this is an important part of any defense.

Once again, the defense will likely be the strength of the team, but is it a good enough unit to carry a potentially struggling offense? In a league built on passing more now than ever, it would appear as though the Saints relying on their defense as the strength of their team is problematic. However, this defense has the potential to be top-five in the league yet again this season.


According to Sharp Football Analysis, the Saints have the No. 9 easiest schedule in the NFL. Let’s break down some of their games based on home and away.

Home Games:

Tampa Bay (Week 2), Minnesota (Week 4), Seattle (Week 5), Cincinnati (Week 6), Las Vegas (Week 8), Baltimore (Week 9), LA Rams (Week 11), Atlanta (Week 15 after the bye), Carolina (Week 18)

Away Games:

Atlanta (Week 1), Carolina (Week 3), Arizona (Week 7), Pittsburgh (Week 10), San Francisco (Week 12), Tampa Bay (Week 13), Cleveland (Week 16), Philadelphia (Week 17)

Schedule Breakdown

It is difficult to judge but based on the roster, and the talent on the roster, there are approximately three games the Saints should not lose at home. The Saints will likely be favorites against Seattle, Atlanta, Carolina, and maybe Minnesota at home. Let’s also not forget New Orleans is a tough place to play no matter what kind of team they have. I’d project the Saints to have about four to five home wins.

This means we have to get at least three or four road wins to push and four or five road wins to win an over bet. Atlanta and Carolina are definitely winnable games. Cleveland may be without a premier starting quarterback for quite some time, and there are question marks around Pittsburgh and San Francisco’s quarterback situations. The problem is going to come back to how good Winston is, and can the defense carry the team if he’s not good?

The most brutal part of the Saints schedule comes at the end of the year. Three road games in four games leading up to their Week 14 bye week will be the most difficult part of their schedule. The nice thing is the Saints play nine home games and eight away games which is one additional home game.


This likely comes down to two people: Winston and Dennis Allen. If Winston can continue where he left off in 2021, then I’m confident in betting the over. If Allen can glean any knowledge from spending a large amount of time with Sean Peyton, then I’m confident in betting the over. Unfortunately, those are two huge unknowns.

If someone made me bet a side, I would take over 8 wins even laying -150. This means the line is likely headed to 8.5 where I would still lean to the over. The Saints are no doubt one of the more interesting teams in the NFL. If things shake right, meaning if Thomas and Kamara don’t miss as much time as expected, and Winston is healthy at the beginning of the season, then this is an easy over. Unfortunately for me, there are too many unanswered questions. Bet at your own peril, but for my money I’m looking elsewhere.