Analyst Says Saints Won’t “Sniff” the Playoffs in 2016

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4. Arizona Cardinals / NFC West

Jan 24, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) calls up plays to his team during the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship football game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints have the dubious honor of taking a trip back out to the Arizona desert, to take on the Cardinals at a date yet to be determined when the schedule is officially released next month.

What is known is that the Cardinals are the defending NFC West winners, and runner up in the NFC Championship Game after a gut-wrenching loss to the Carolina Panthers.

The Saints fell 31-19 to the Cardinals in last season’s opening game, and they essentially return the same squad in 2016 that the Saints faced last year.

The Cardinals will be back with head coach and offensive guru (and one-time Saints QB coach) Bruce Arians at the helm; along with veteran QB Carson Palmer and his group of fast receivers that feature veteran All-Pro Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, and John Brown.

Along with the discovery of unheralded rookie RB David Johnson, they have the potential to have just as strong of a running game; and look to be a force that will have to be reckoned with once again in 2016. This are two teams in the Saints and Cardinals that “mirror” each other on offense; but with the Cardinals having a major advantage defensively.

Arizona’s ‘No Fly Zone’ secondary, the aggressive ball hawking, and 5th best defense from 2015; are known for some of the NFL’s biggest defensive superstars — with one of the best at corners in the league (former LSU All-American Patrick Peterson), one of the most NFL’s most versatile players with safety Tyrann “The Honey Badger” Mathieu (also a former LSU All-American), along with other CB Jerraud Powers and Rashad Johnson at safety, who was responsible for 5 interceptions.

When you throw in veteran D-Linemen Calais Campbell and Dwight Freeny, along with another year of experience for linebackers Kevin Minster and Deone Bucannon; the Cardinals defense is a great mix of young and older players who fit well into their roles on the team, and it will be a reason why the Cardinals are legitimate contenders for Super Bowl 51.

It’s the reason why the Saints will have to bring their “A-Game” once again to the desert, and hope that this time around they don’t come up short as they did last September.

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