Saints lead NFC South entering second half of season

Jake Blancher, Associate Sports Editor

After stumbling into a 1-2 start, the New Orleans Saints are now sitting atop the NFC South having won five straight games. 

Most recently, the Saints firmly handed their rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers a loss in a decisive 38-3 rout Sunday night. The Saints’ attack through the air was lethal and relentless. With 12 different players recording a reception, and four of them catching a touchdown pass, the Buccaneers were no match for the Saints, despite Tampa Bay’s debut of troubled superstar Antonio Brown. And for good measure, Alvin Kamara piled on the one-sided affair in what has become a weekly tradition — scoring a rushing touchdown.

Following an early set of ankle and hamstring injuries and even a team suspension to star wide receiver Michael Thomas, nobody expected this year’s Saints offense to be nearly as efficient as it was last season. However, recently extended running back Alvin Kamara has taken charge, leading the Saints both in rushing and receiving yards, for the ninth-best offense in the NFL. 

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Leading the NFC South, the Saints are in a great position heading into the second half of the NFL season. (Cecilia Hammond)

All this talk about the Saints’ impressive offense is not meant to disqualify the defensive unit, which has been consistently smothering opponents’ offensive attempts, currently ranking eighth in yards yielded per game. While the defense has not featured any singular player that is performing extraordinarily well, a number of Saints have made meaningful contributions to their collective success thus far, including Trey Hendrickson, Malcolm Jenkins, Demario Davis and Cameron Jordan. 

Aside from a week 15 matchup against the defending Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Saints have quite an easy schedule over the remainder of the regular season, not playing any other team posting a winning record over the first half of the 2020 NFL campaign. At 41 years of age, most of Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ snaps are surely behind him, yet he’s displayed more than enough football IQ and accurate passing to make a meaningful run this NFL postseason.  

The Saints currently have the best odds to win the NFC at +300, and the third-best odds to win the Super Bowl at +700. Be sure to tune in to next Sunday’s game against the defending, yet struggling, NFC champions, the San Francisco 49ers.