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Do the Saints Have a Shot at the Super Bowl Next Year?

After yet another season ended in narrowly missing out on the play-offs, the New Orlean Saints bid a tearful farewell to long-term coach Sean Payton in January this year. Payton had been at the helm for 16 years, many of which can be deemed qualified successes. Others, such as their glorious Super Bowl triumph in 2010, will hold fond memories for fans for years.

So with the franchise having experienced the end of one era and now contemplating the start of a new one, can they continue Payton’s good work over recent seasons and reach Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona next February? Although rated as rank outsiders by many betting sites, there’s no reason to write them off completely. Here are three things the franchise must do if it is to get its hands on the Vince Lombardi in 2023.

Keep Winston fit

The Saints came roaring out of the blocks last season with a 5-2 streak in their first seven games. However, starting QB Jameis Winston suffered a nasty tear to his anterior cruciate ligament in game eight and their form unraveled from there. Although backup Taysom Hill pulled things back at the end of the season – helping them to four wins in their last five games – his age and lack of pedigree at this level is a concern.

With Winston a free agent at the close of last season, it looked as though the Saints would have a new starting QB in 2022. However, their pursuit of Deshaun Watson was ultimately usurped by the Cleveland Browns and with Winston back in the frame, they must throw everything behind him and hope he can capture that early season form last year. If they can, they’ll surely make the play-offs this time around.

Get behind Allen

Whenever a head coach who has been in the post for as long as Payton was leaves, there’s bound to be some sort of hangover. However, the Saints have made moves to reduce the chance of that happening by promoting from within, thus enhancing the feeling of continuity between Payton’s tenure and that of his successor.

Dennis Allen’s only other stint as head coach might have been a disappointment (he commanded a woeful record of 8-28 across two-and-a-bit seasons with the Oakland Raiders), but he’s achieved impressive results at New Orleans over his two stints with the franchise. Indeed, the Saints have ranked among the top seven defensive units in the last couple of seasons and if they can build on those solid foundations, there’s no reason they can’t challenge.

Fill the holes

At the close of last season, the Saints were around $75 million over their wage cap. That means that they had to work some wonders with their accounting acrobatics in order to put together a decent team for 2022. However, they’ve certainly been in this predicament before and emerged from it with flying colors, so it’s entirely possible they’ll repeat the trick once more.

GM Mickey Loomis has already made several bold moves to address the situation, including offloading some of the franchise’s most solid stars in the shape of Terron Armstead and Marcus Williams. Although that has freed up some much-needed capital, they’ll need to replace those outgoing players with similar or superior quality in order to avoid slipping behind their rivals in the future American football matches.

The Saints might be priced at +3000 going into the NFL 2022/23 season, but they have a shot at glory if they can get their QB firing, rally behind a new head coach and perform impressive feats with their salary structure.

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