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CNN’s Lombardi Picks Saints to Make the Jump to the Playoffs


CNN/SI Columnist Mike Lombardi has posted a new column about three non-playoff teams that will make the playoffs this year.  On the list, the Saints.  Here are Mike’s comments about the Saints this season:

The Saints are another team that has improved this offseason. With a Pro Bowl player at quarterback in Drew Brees, and a schedule that has them playing the AFC West and the NFC North, I really like the Saints chances to take over the NFC South from the Buccaneers.

The Saints know how to score points on offense, ranking 12th in the NFL last year. When they can play with a lead like they did in ’06, they can become very dangerous. In 2006, the Saints had a plus-66 point differential in first-half points scored and allowed. In 2007, that margin was only 10.

This year, they don’t have to deal with the rugged opening schedule that was the result of their remarkable 2006 run. Brees will not be able to start the year as he did in ’07, throwing nine interceptions and only one touchdown in the first four games. My only concern is that the Saints need to find a big back between now and the end of the preseason. Once they add this player to their offense, they will be tough to slow down.

Add the Saints to the 2008 playoff roster.

Postscript: I know I am going to get e-mails from diehard Browns and Vikings fans, and the truth of the matter is I like those teams as well, but my editor only wanted three. So it is not that I don’t love those teams; I just happen to love these three a little more.

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