Saints have a surprisingly low projected 2021 win total

Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints
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Every year, one of the most compelling preseason prop bets comes from the basic question of how many games will a given team win?

The folks at PointsBet have unveiled projected win totals, for all teams, based on three weeks of free agency and as we sit roughly three weeks from the draft. We’ll take a look at those totals on a division-by-division basis, starting with the division that gave us the defending NFL champion: The NFC South.

The Buccaneers, who didn’t win the division in 2020, lead the way with 11.5 wins in 17 games.

The Saints, the defending NFC South champions, stand at nine wins, which seems low. The Saints have had four straight seasons of at least 11 wins per year. It seems unlikely, to say the least, that they’ll go 10-7 or worse.

Yes, they don’t have Drew Brees. But they still have Sean Payton. And they still have a roster full of talented players, led by the likes of running back Alvin Kamara (pictured), receiver Michael Thomas, and defensive end Cam Jordan. Also, the Saints (and the rest of the division) play all teams of the NFC East (the weakest division in the NFC) and AFC East (the second-weakest division in the AFC). With the Panthers and Falcons (which make up four of the Saints’ games) still rebuilding and the ability to at least split with the Bucs, the Saints should be good for double-digit wins again.

The Panthers have been pegged at 7.5 wins, with the Falcons at 7. Both seem a little high, but they play each other twice (which means one win for each or two for one) and they play the 2020 third- and fourth-place teams, respectively, from the NFC North, NFC West, and AFC South.

I don’t bet. Of any of these four totals, the one on which I’d definitely wager is the Saints winning more than nine games.

32 responses to “Saints have a surprisingly low projected 2021 win total

  1. I would take the under. Losing your franchise will hurt more than you realize in the 1st year. This team’s core isn’t as young as it once was either.

  2. Only advice I can give you Saints fans, is get your heart medicine ready. Watching Jameis play football is bad on your heart. – Concerned Bucs fan.

  3. They could still be an elite team if all the offseason moves work out, but I don’t think that win projection is entirely unreasonable. They lost a lot of important defensive players because they’re in salary cap hell, lost Brees (even though he wasn’t the player he used to be last season, he still knew how to execute that offense), and the new quarterback combo arguably isn’t the best fit for their personnel.

    Consider the top two skill position players. Michael Thomas dominates on underneath and intermediate routes, and Kamara is an elite receiver out of the backfield. Yet Jameis is a more of a downfield passer, and the offense projects as a low-volume passing offense with Taysom Hill under center (my fantasy team had Kamara, and I was actually leaving him on the bench a few times when Hill was starting because Hill sunk his PPR value).

    Meanwhile, Tampa, Atlanta, Carolina and the NFC East are all likely to have improved since last year.

  4. “But they still have Sean Payton.”

    Who went 7-9 three consecutive years from 2014-16 with Drew Brees. He’s a fine coach but it’s not like he’s NEVER failed to hit double-digit wins.

  5. They weren’t that good last year and now they have no QB. Makes sense to me.

  6. Sean Payton will find out what every other legendary coach has learned over the years. It is all about the QB.

  7. Saints will be alright. Everyone can’t have the NFL (Goodell) pushing its favorite QB.

  8. Salary cap restrictions, lower draft picks and transitioning to Captain Crab Claw does lead one to believe this team may take a step back. That said, everyone evaluates numbers out of Vegas incorrectly. The number is designed to make the house money, not get the number correct. There certainly is a perception the team will take a step back, so the number has to be lower than last year, to make the house money.

  9. If Payton gets 10 wins from Hill/Winston, he deserves coach of the year. But it ain’t gonna happen.

  10. I am not sure I understand why 7 wins is bad for this team. They will have a first place schedule. They lost a first ballot HOF QB. 7-10 isn’t awful.

  11. Jameis will single handedly lose at least 4 games that otherwise should be won. Take the under.

  12. Do you really see either of their current QBs leading them to double digit win totals?

  13. Get to know their QBs and you will understand…
    Icwill be SHoCkED if they win 8 games with those Guys!

  14. Based on the article and the comments, I’d say setting the betting line at 9 wins is just right.

  15. Betting the “over” on Tampa Bay’s 11.5 projection seems like the best bet in this division. The Buccaneers would have to lose six games for the bet to be a loser. They play six games in their division, the AFC East, the NFC East, plus the Bears, Rams and Colts. Where are those six losses?

  16. Does the win total account for the 20 the Saints “ dodged” when Brees “ decided” to take a minimum salary vs the 20mil owed? Little paperwork on the way out the door for the org.

    If the Pats and Tom Brady “retired” in this manner and dodged the cap, the response would have been fines, and many draft picks taken away and all kinds of name calling.

  17. I would bet 8-8 even if Breese was still there. Team is not what it was and the competition in the NFC has gotten tougher. This is not a playoff team anymore.

  18. A perfect example is what Bill Belichick learned last season when a HOF QB is no longer on the team.

  19. juan759 says:
    April 5, 2021 at 11:42 am
    Does the win total account for the 20 the Saints “ dodged” when Brees “ decided” to take a minimum salary vs the 20mil owed? Little paperwork on the way out the door for the org.

    If the Pats and Tom Brady “retired” in this manner and dodged the cap, the response would have been fines, and many draft picks taken away and all kinds of name calling.
    To your point how does a team full of stars return 22 starters from a SB championship team? Now THAT’s some “creative” paperwork. SB or bust because salary cap hell is a certainty down the road.

  20. 8-1 when starting Hill and Bridgewater last 2 years. The defense is very good, probably a small step back due to losing CB2 and a couple useful DL. Winston isnt be Brees, but he is better than Bridgewater and Hill.

    I am a fan, but not delusional- I don’t think 10 wins is a lock, but I think its more likely than 8.

  21. Saints SB window is now closed. They know that, whether they’ll admit it or not. The roster has suffered losses, and age is a concern for some others too. 8-9 wins in a 17 games season sounds about right. I doubt they make the playoffs.

  22. I’m a Saints fan, and I think nine wins is optimistic. I don’t think they will crater, but their schedule is more difficult than it appears, and the retirement of Brees is not the only challenge they face. They are thin in the secondary, Cam Jordan is on the decline and they lost a lot of depth on defense. One sure bet is that they will suffer a clunker of a loss at home to an inferior team, and blow out a playoff team on the road, as has been their pattern the last several years. If they draft as well as they have in recent years, then 9 wins or better looks like a reasonable bet

  23. the NFC east was the weakest division last year, won’t be a pushover this year coming up

  24. They might get a shot a 10 wins if at least half of their road games are played before November. Good luck in Philly,Washington,Foxboro, East Rutherford,Seattle,Nashville and even Charlotte if any of those games have to be played in December or January.

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