New Orleans Saints: Biggest winners of the first half of the season

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(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) – New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints are halfway through the 2019 NFL season with a 7-1 record through eight games as the team heads into its bye week.

The New Orleans Saints have had quite the first half of the 2019 season. The team lost its Hall of Fame quarterback for five and a half games but still managed to only lose one game, winning all of the games that Drew Brees did not start.

While the Saints have the second-best record in the NFC behind the San Francisco 49ers and are tied with the Green Bay Packers, they feel like the best team in the conference due to the opponents that they have beaten as well as the hurdles they have overcome.

If we did the biggest winners in the NFL from the first eight weeks then the Saints would probably be number one. However, we are keeping it just to the team itself and are giving you the four biggest winners of the first half on the Saints roster, in no particular order.

Marcus Williams

The New Orleans Saints defense has been a huge reason for the team’s success through eight games and Marcus Williams has been a huge component in that defensive success. He may not get the praise that he deserves compared to other big-name defenders on the Saints, but he has quietly been really good.

Williams’ traditional stat line is not insane —two interceptions, 17 solo tackles, six pass deflections and a forced fumble—but his efforts as a consistent part of the Saints’ secondary is rewarded when we take a deeper dive.

Williams’ player grade on Pro Football Focus (subscription required for in-depth stats) is 90.0. Compare that to last season, where he had a 74.1 rating, and it is clear that Williams has taken a huge step up and has been more like his rookie-year self, but better.

There are defenders that have been more impactful than Williams, but with his improvements and the fact that he gets overlooked, he is a winner of the first half.

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