2016 wasn’t the best year for the New Orleans Saints, with the team coming off with a 7 – 9 record and missing the playoffs for the third year running. Only placing third in the NFC south, fans of the team may be hoping for a better season when 2017 kicks off, however, many of the top analysts in the sport are not optimistic about the chances for the team.

The team surrendered 28.4 points on average per game last season, which was the second worst record in the NFL. Let’s take a look at what some of the top sports media groups are saying about the Saints for 2017, and see if they’re worth taking a risk on when the season gets started later this year.

Fox Sports Predicts the New Orleans Saints Record for 2017

Nick Wright at Fox Sports is not kind in his prediction for 2017, predicting few wins against some lower tiered teams, with expected losses to come in the majority of their games. The final prediction is a record of 6 – 10 for the season, which would be one loss worse than their 2016 season.

The team might be able to pull out some wins against teams like the Lions, Redskins, Jets, Bears, and Panthers, but may struggle to make an impact on teams like the Dolphins, Packers, Falcons, Buccaneers, and the Vikings.

Doc’s Sports Predictions for the 2017 NFL Season

Chris Vasile at Doc’s Sports is slightly more optimistic than Fox Sports, but the margin is not significant. He has gone on the record with a prediction of 8.5 wins, making for an effective prediction of 8 – 8.

Although this would be a slight step up from the previous season, it’s still not much to get excited about. The New Orleans Saints have a long history in the NFL and are fan favorites even outside of New Orleans. Could Adrian Peterson make an impact for the upcoming year? It’s possible, but the team doesn’t exactly have a lot of star power, and it could even be argued that Peterson is past his prime in the NFL, even if he is still a capable running back. He’ll be earning significantly less with the Saints than he could have with the option on his Viking’s contract, so it’s not even a guarantee that his motivation will be high.

ESPN Expert Prediction from Mike Triplett

ESPN isn’t being completely unreasonable with their prediction for 2017, noting that the team could show up this year with a strong offense and a better defense than what we’ve seen in the previous season. ESPN is predicting a record of 9 – 7 for the season.

Mike Tripplett adds the caveat that the team will need to come into the season with a good start, so anyone hopeful of good things from the team should expect at least 2 – 2 from their early season games.

Richard Janvrin Predicts the New Orleans Saints 2017 Record for Bleacher Report

Janvrin is not expecting any great things or changes from the norm, and only predicts the saints to match last season’s record of 7 – 9.

The Bleacher Report prediction does note the defense of the team did progressively improve over the course of the previous season, so if they can keep up momentum in that department, then their final record may surprise a few people. However, Janvrin does note that six of the games last year were lost when scoring at least 20 points, so the defense would have to make some significant upwards steps to change the way that they’ve been giving away wins for the last season. The toughest game of the season will come early, against New England in Week 2. The good news is that the New Orleans Saints will be playing at home, which could give some extra motivation and allow them to come into the game fresh and well prepared. On the other hand, the New England Patriots aren’t a team known for giving too much away, so this could just as easily lead to a loss.

Games against the Lions and the Packers won’t be difficult as such, but they will be important games in the way that they will show how the Saints can perform against teams of near-equal ability.

Jonathan Jones Makes his Prediction for Sports Illustrated

Want to know just how bad things might get? Just like Fox Sports, Jonathan Jones is predicting a record of 6 – 10 for New Orleans in 2017.

Jones things that the loss of Brandin Cooks will be significant in weakening the team. A player like Ted Ginn Jr. probably won’t be able to pick up the slack that is left. Jones does note that Drew Brees is still an important player for the team, but at the same time, also points out that Brees has been in the team for some of their worst seasons. So then, is there any particular player in the team that can inspire the squad or even make a significant difference on their own? Apparently not, at least in the opinion of Jonathan Jones. The Sports Illustrated prediction calls the Week 7 game against Green Bay to be an important point of the season, and while Jones is calling a loss for the Saints, an unexpected win could create some momentum and turnaround for New Orleans. We’ll have to wait to find out.

There’s a fairly diverse spread of predictions from the top analysts and media outlets in the sport, but most of them lean towards a negative view. The last three seasons have all been 7 – 9, so at this point anything that improves on that could be seen as a positive result. It has been a long time since the 2009 team won at the Super Bowl, and on paper, the team has only regressed since then.