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    Computer updates Saints' projected win total

    The SportsLine Projection Model has updated its projected win totals after the first wave of NFL free agency.
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    The New Orleans Saints have won the NFC South three years in a row and are coming off their second consecutive 13-3 season. However, with just one championship to show for 14 years of Drew Brees playing some of the best football in the history of the quarterback position, there's a growing championship urgency in NOLA.

    Brees is 41 now and just signed a two-year contract extension that seems likely to signal an end to his career after the 2021 season. With that out of the way, the Saints will have to continue making serious commitments to winning now as they look to take advantage of one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the league.

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    Thus far, the Saints have made significant commitments to keeping Brees protected this offseason by re-signing Andrus Peat to a five-year contract worth $57.5 million. They also gave him another weapon offensively by signing Emmanuel Sanders to a two-year, $16 million deal.

    On the other side of the ball, they brought back veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins on a four-year, $32 million deal. Jenkins spent his first five seasons in New Orleans before spending his last six seasons with the Eagles and making three Pro Bowls. The Saints have now ranked in the top half of the NFL in scoring defense the last three years and Jenkins adds a playmaking presence in the secondary that should improve the unit as a whole.

    Ultimately, even after the Buccaneers added Tom Brady to take a run at the NFC South, the Saints still look like they have the best roster in the division by a considerable margin. Brees, Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are as talented of a playmaking quartet as you'll find in the league and the addition of Jenkins to a defensive core that includes Cameron Jordan, Demario Davis and Marshon Lattimore could help take the defense over the top.

    The SportsLine Projection Model simulates the NFL season 10,000 times and it's predicting that the Saints win 11.2 games on average in 2020. It also says that New Orleans wins the NFC South in 81.0 percent of simulations and makes the postseason 90.6 percent of the time.

    That's a slight drop from the 11.6 projected wins the model predicted prior to the start of free agency (likely more due to the Buccaneers' addition of Brady than anything the Saints have done wrong). Meanwhile, William Hill Sportsbook currently lists the Saints at 11-1 to win the 2021 Super Bowl, which are the fourth-best odds in the NFL.

    Ryan Wooden

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