The New Orleans Saints will be without Drew Brees for a good chunk of the season, which absolutely is something to worry about.
Brees was pulled out of the game after Aaron Donald made a tackle and hit Brees’ hand in the process. The injury ended up being worse than Saint fans had hoped for as it will keep Brees out of action for longer than just that game.
It was announced on Monday that Brees tore a ligament in his throwing thumb and will require surgery, with the initial timetable being six weeks.
Of course, the initial timetable is not one that will be set in stone, especially with it being his throwing thumb. These kind of injuries are tricky and if Brees cannot grip the football then he obviously won’t be able to play.
Teddy Bridgewater is the highest-paid backup quarterback in the NFL, with the idea being that if Brees ever did go down that Bridgewater would be good enough to keep the Saints competitive. However, his performance on Sunday was not that inspiring, although he was just thrown into the fire.
We are going to assume in this article that Brees misses six games and gets an extra week to heal with the Saints bye week, putting his return in Week 10 on November 10 against the Atlanta Falcons.
Here is how we see the Saints’ games going in that time.
Week 3 at Seattle Seahawks — Loss
The first full week without Drew Brees might be better for Bridgewater and the New Orleans Saints as Bridgewater will get a week to practice with the first team but it won’t be enough.
Even with Brees, this was going to be a tough game as the Seattle Seahawks are one of the hardest teams in the entire league to beat on the road. Russell Wilson will have a very similar game to Deshaun Watson in Week 1 and Bridgewater and the offense won’t do enough.
Week 4 vs Dallas Cowboys — Loss
Again, this is a game that was going to be tough with Brees and is going to be even tougher without him. The Dallas Cowboys’ defense shut down Brees and company last year and is going to give Bridgewater fits even with the Saints at home.
This is going to be a game that comes down to the wire with the Saints needing Bridgewater to drive down the field to tie the game. That is when Brees will be missed the most.
Week 5 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Win
I know that you are going to hate me for this but I actually think that the Buccaneers are a frisky team that could be better than people expect. They have a new head coach in Bruce Arians, a defense that has been better the last two weeks and a running game that looks like it could actually not be non-existent.
The biggest drawback for the Bucs is Jameis Winston, who has the ability to lose a game all on his own. Winston is going to have some decent games when he does enough to manage the game and is going to have some ugly games, as he did in Week 1.
This will be an ugly game as Winston won’t be able to handle the thunderous Superdome crowd.
Week 6 at Jacksonville Jaguars — Win
This is a very losable game with the Saints going down to Jacksonville, although they are being saved a bit by this game coming in mid-October rather than in September.
I think this will be Bridgewater’s best game as a starter and he is going to do more than enough to lead the Saints to a surprising blowout win.
Week 7 at Chicago Bears — Loss
It may be an afternoon game but the New Orleans Saints are still going into Chicago in late October, a situation that a lot of teams struggle to win in.
Granted, Saint fans may be able to count on Mitchell Trubisky blowing the game for the Bears but the Saints do not necessarily have a great defense to shut down Trubisky as other teams have.
And at the end of the day, the Bears still have one of the best defenses in football and have a defensive line that will give the Saints all the same fits that they experienced against the Rams.
That puts the Saints at 3-4 when Drew Brees returns if the timetable is not as long as it could be. They have a division-heavy schedule at the end of the year so they definitely can win the division if they finish 7-2, especially in the weak NFC South.
However, if Brees is out longer than expected or has some hiccups once he does return, there absolutely is a chance that the New Orleans Saints could go 9-7 or 8-8 after starting 3-4.