Saints Dominate Tampa, Become Legitimate

The New Orleans Saints have massive defensive problems. You have to have been living in a cave if you did not know that. New Orleans has been fielding questions about their defensive problems for months.

And the Saints' betting odds for the games at the start of the season were decidedly unfavorable. New Orleans did not help matters by kicking the season off so poorly. But if you think this is going to be just another negative report on the woes of the New Orleans Saints, you're wrong.

Dennis Allen has done the unexpected. He has turned the New Orleans prospects around. And he has done so by giving their defense some much-needed tweaking.

And if you have been following New Orleans for a long time and you are a little hesitant to believe in them lest they break your heart, it might come as a surprise for you to learn that the Saints stand at the top of the NFC South with a record of 6-2.

Sure, they are tied for the top spot, but that is still a miraculous result. Drew Brees must be sighing in relief. It was clear that something had changed when the Saints proceeded to deliver six consecutive victories, and they didn't need Brees to perform a miracle to do so.

Drew Brees is a special quarterback. You do not see athletes like him in the NFL every day. And his stats are often quite gaudy. But sometimes it feels like the athlete is wasted in New Orleans because he works so hard only for his efforts to be dashed by a terrible defense.

People have been saying for a long time that the Saints could go so far if they gave Brees a good defense. Maybe they listened. Maybe the coaches were tired of losing. Either way, they showed what they could do by dominating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, and they are unlikely to stop there.

They are already in sixth place in the NFL when it comes to scoring. Boasting an average of 27.1 points, you all know that New Orleans has one of the strongest offenses around, and that isn't even taking into account their impressive yards. Now that they have finally resolved their defensive issues, they have become real contenders.

Think about this: the Saints were 31st in scoring defense in 2016. Now they are ninth in the NFL. Who knew they could turn things around so rapidly? Some credit must be imputed to the likes of Marshon Lattimore and Cam Jordan. You also have defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, whose job it has been to organize his many talented young players and deploy them effectively.

Brees has yet to show up. The team hasn't needed him to deliver his flashy numbers in some time. But that doesn't mean he can't show up when the need arises.

The Saints are fifth in the power rankings. They could still stumble, but that doesn't seem likely. The New Orleans Saints are legitimate Super Bowl contenders now. That sounds like wishful thinking, but it's true. It might be time for pundits and analysts to reconsider their earlier predictions about this season.

Super Bowl LII odds to win: New Orleans Saints +1000

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