Saints predictions: Final record, playoff odds from our computers, experts, Vegas

The Saints have three straight 7-9 finishes and have posted that record in four of their last five years. However, they managed four seasons of 11-plus wins in a five-year stretch from 2009-13, a run that was of course kicked off with a Super Bowl title.

Will Saints fans endure more 7-9 mediocrity, or is a return to the glory days ahead? Let's break it down.

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SportsLine

Projected wins In playoffs Win division Conference Super Bowl
7.623.2% 12.0% 1.5% 0.4%

SportsLine projects the Saints to be right around .500 yet again after finishing with a 7-9 record the last three seasons. That recent stretch has come after four trips to the playoffs in five years, and SportsLine doesn't like their chances to get back to the postseason in 2017.

Vegas

Win totalPlayoffsDivisionConferenceSuper Bowl
8 (U -135)+255+55025/150/1

All odds via Westgate.

Bettors have hammered the Under on 8.5 wins for the Saints so far, but considering that they'll likely receive elite play from their offense, it wouldn't take that large an improvement from the defense to turn them into a 9-7 team. The playoff odds don't offer any value across the board, but who knows what will happen in an NFC South that could be wide open.

Experts

Jared Dubin defends his 8-8 prediction:

So, I do have the Saints at 8-8 -- but I also have them finishing last in the NFC South, which might be the most competitive division in the NFL this season. (Most competitive, not best. Calm down.)

New Orleans has finished 7-9 in each of the last three seasons, and four of the last five. The Saints lost Brandin Cooks and didn't exactly go out and replace him. But this is still a Drew Brees-led team, which means they are going to rack up the points. There's a three-man rotation at running back now, with Adrian Peterson and Alvin Kamara joining Mark Ingram in the backfield.

And it's basically impossible for the defense to be worse than it was over the last few years, especially with the Saints devoting eight of their 12 draft picks and most of their free-agent money to the less glamorous side of the football over the last two offseasons. Add that to a relatively light schedule (the Saints get the AFC East, NFC North, the Rams and Washington in their rotational games) and I smell a .500 season for the first time in a while.   

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