Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

The Saints have been the “Jekyll and Hyde” of the NFL through Week 8, capable of looking as good or bad as any team in the league. Dr. Jekyll made an appearance in the team’s 38-27 win over the Colts. If that version of the Saints sticks around, the rest of the NFC South will want to hide.

New Orleans posted a season-high 511 yards on offense, and quarterback Derek Carr looked the best he has all season. That was especially important because, entering Sunday’s game, he was among the most disappointing free-agency signings of the offseason.

The tension that boiled over in the team’s Thursday night loss to the Jaguars in Week 7 may have been a necessity, allowing the team to address issues that were neglected for too long. 

The passing game was the most dynamic it’s been all season, and the offense was its most efficient in the red zone, scoring touchdowns on three of its four possessions inside the 20.

Carr finished Sunday’s game 19-of-27 for 310 yards (11.5 yards per attempt) and two touchdowns while only being sacked once. 

Timing issues still exist between Carr and second-year wideout Chris Olave, who had a ball bounce off his helmet on a would-be touchdown and another pass badly overthrown on consecutive second-half plays. However, he still led the team in receptions (five) and targets (nine), showing there’s a concerted effort to keep him engaged and get him out of his slump.

When assessing the landscape of the NFC South, the Saints (4-4) may finally be ready to take hold of the division they were expected to win in the preseason.

They are tied with the Falcons for first, and Atlanta has an offense with even more issues than New Orleans. Quarterback Desmond Ridder was benched for Taylor Heinicke in the team’s 28-23 loss to the Titans, and head coach Arthur Smith hasn’t shown anything to suggest he knows how to get the most out of all of Atlanta’s talented weapons.

Tampa Bay (3-4), despite beating New Orleans 26-9 in Week 4, is fading under quarterback Baker Mayfield, looking more like the team many expected it to be at the beginning of the season during its current three-game losing streak. Carolina (1-6) just got its first win of the year and should worry about winning another one before thinking about taking the division.

New Orleans has arguably the best defense in the NFC South, certainly the best against the pass. Entering Week 8, only the Ravens (70.8) allowed a worse passer rating than the Saints (72.6).

The offense has enough talent, including utility man Taysom Hill and electrifying speedster Rashid Shaheed, to look as good as it did against the Colts more often going forward.

Hill continues to be a matchup nightmare for opponents. In Week 8, he led the Saints with 63 rushing yards (including a 20-yard touchdown run) and added a 44-yard completion and 14-yard reception.

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The post Saints show why they have highest ceiling in NFC South with Week 8 win appeared first on WorldNewsEra.

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