Nov 1, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) reacts after throwing his seventh touchdown pass of the game during the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Giants 52-49. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
At long last the regular season is upon us. After a long off-season and a disappointing pre-season, followed by a flurry of last-minute roster moves, the slate is wiped clean and starting tomorrow the games count.
Technically, the NFL regular season kicked off on Thursday night as the Carolina Panthers fell to the defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos.
However, for the rest of the NFL, the Saints included, the real action starts tomorrow.
I was excited as any other fan to have football back on Thursday; and I was anxious to see how the Saints divisional rivals, the Carolina Panthers, would look in their first test of the season.
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After a tight battle, Cam Newton drove his team into position to kick a game-winning field goal, despite being physically assaulted by the Broncos.
As Graham Gano drove the first kick through the uprights, I couldn’t help but think the Panthers looked like they would win the division once again.
But something was different this season.
A referee began blowing his whistle like a madman, and the play was called back.
The kick didn’t count as Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak had decided to ice the kicker. I couldn’t help thinking the Broncos were only delaying the inevitable, but still, I felt a little hope rise as the Panthers lined up to try again.
As soon as the ball left Gano’s foot, it was clear he’d pulled the kick, and the Panthers had lost the game. Before taking the field in 2016, the New Orleans Saints are tied for the division lead in the NFC South.
Sep 8, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Carolina Panthers kicker Graham Gano (9) misses a fifty yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Panthers 21-20. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Bluntly stated, this wouldn’t have happened last season.
The first kick would have counted and that would have been that. However, this is a new year, and clearly, the winds of fortune have shifted, at least for now.
The Saints have an incredible opportunity ahead, and for the first time in a long time, luck might be on their side.
With this in mind, here are my five BOLD predictions for the Saints this season.
Note: By definition these predictions are bold, and might be deemed ludicrous by some football fans. That’s alright, based on what I’ve seen this season, and what happened Thursday night, I feel confident at least a few of these “bold” predictions will come to pass.
Starting first with Prediction #1……..
Next: The Thriller