Are the New Orleans Saints the Best Team in the NFC South?

Will Osgood@@BRwillosgoodAnalyst IAugust 19, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 9:   Drew Brees #9,  Ben Grubbs #66, and  Jermon Bushrod #74 of the New Orleans Saints head to the sideline against the New England Patriots in the first half at Gillette Stadium on August 9, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images


Simply enough the New Orleans Saints are the best team in the NFC South. 

The Mighty Cam Newtons? Too young. 

Matt Ryan's "Fal-clowns" (die-hard Who Dats' name for the team)? Proven over the last six years they've got nothing on the New Orleans Saints

The Fighting Greg Schianos? Likely more hype than substance. 

None of those statements are sure things. None are certain to stand. All, though, seem to be true. 

First things first, the New Orleans Saints still have the best quarterback in the division. Drew Brees is probably the second-best quarterback in the game, which only adds to his stock within the division. 

Brees has been doing it longer than any quarterback in the division. He's seen more, played more and has more experience on his current team than any quarterback in the division. 

Sure he may be missing his head coach, Sean Payton, the guy who called plays for most of Brees' first six seasons in black and gold. But, Brees essentially calls plays week-to-week, game-to-game anyway. 

And that only touches on the fact that Brees is the guy the New Orleans Saints have always relied on for motivation and as a rallying factor. 

Brees is a rock, a cornerstone, a hero of sorts for the city of New Orleans and entire Saints football team. And like the Dark Knight, early in his career he had his faults and struggles against his enemies. 

But now with age and experience, he knows how to slay all comers against him. 

Yes, Brees is just one of 53 men on what will become the eventual final squad. But he's earning much more than anyone else on the entire roster. And that's OK because his overall impact is far greater than any of the other 53 men on the roster. 

Brees alone makes Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Devery Henderson, Jimmy Graham and the rest of the Saints' skill players what they are. He makes them legit. 

That is not to say none of them could compete and play well in other cities, but it is to say that their abilities are maxed out by playing in New Orleans with Brees. 

Additionally, Brees' presence makes the offensive line better. If anyone else (perhaps minus Rodgers and Brady) were playing quarterback for the Saints, the offensive line would not be seen as one of the finest in the league. 

Brees' saves their cumulative belts many times each game. Yes, Jahri Evans is good, maybe even the best guard in football. But the rest of the line is as productive as Brees allows them to be. 

Then again, Ben Grubbs was a Pro Bowl left guard in Baltimore whose presence certainly will not hurt this team this year and beyond. 

Then there's defense. 

Based on talent alone, this team ought to be among the most complete defenses in the entire NFL. Despite the injury to Chris Chamberlain on Friday night against Jacksonville, which will put him out for the year, the team is still very deep and talented at linebacker. 

In the secondary, the team returns the most underrated corner in the game, Jabari Greer, and up-and-comers Patrick Robinson and Johnny Patrick. The secondary, with Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins, should only improve in new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's defense. 

And the D-line figures to only improve under Spags, whose specialty is getting the most out of the defensive line. 

If Junior Galette, Martez Wilson and perhaps rookie Donavan Robinson can do as expected and put consistent pressure on the quarterback via a four-man rush, this defense can be as good as their talent level suggests. 

A top-10 defense is not out of the question. 

If combined with a top-three offense, which is all but certain, there is zero way any team in the NFC South can stay with the New Orleans Saints in 2012. 

Yes, those are a lot of ifs. But they are doable ifs, thus making them more likely. 

Carolina cannot stop 'em. Atlanta cannot either. And Tampa Bay ought to go sign another free agent. None of it will help. 

The Saints are hands down the best team in the NFC South. 


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