The New Orleans Saints got their NFL regular season off to a winning start against the Houston Texans, in a game they looked like losing for large parts. As well as helping Sean Payton pick up a long-awaited season-opening win, the win also showed those Saints fans who had been worrying about this year that this team might be in better shape than they thought.
On the back of a disappointing end to a season that promised so much last year, the Saints have started this season among the favorites to win the Super Bowl. From what we saw against the Texans, the Saints certainly have the potential to achieve something this season but they will have to tighten up in a number of areas.
On the plus side, though, there were plenty of positives to take from their round one victory, and their odds of 15/2 with the latest NFL betting to win the Super Bowl look very tempting after their first win of the year.
Here are the top talking points from the Saints’ 30-28 win:
P.J. Williams proves his worth
If there was any doubt as to how important P.J. Williams is to this team, then his performance against the Texans proved it again. Following a standout season in which he recorded 44 tackles, starting just seven games, Williams kicked off the new campaign with an excellent showing, making two tackles and showing how dangerous he is in any sort of coverage.
Erik proves he’s the real McCoy
Making his first appearance since being drafted in the second round earlier this year, rookie center Erik McCoy went about his business in a very professional manner. The center, who was born in Texas and went to Texas A&M, looked very much the part for the Saints, and the signs are very promising that New Orleans could have found a long-term starting center. There is a long way to go this year but, if he can produce the sort of performance he did against Houston, then he’ll be a fantastic addition to this offensive line.
Latavius impresses in new role
Latavius Murray has been given a lot of responsibility by the Saints since his offseason arrival. With six rushes for 43 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown, Murray couldn’t have wished for a better start to his New Orleans career. While it might take some time before the Saints see the 29-year-old at his best, when he gets there, he’s going to be a dangerous weapon for this team.
Best of the rest
There are few players in the league as tough to defend against as Michael Thomas. He might not have scored against the Texans but his ten catches for 123 yards highlight his contribution. It was a similar story for Alvin Kamara, who racked up 169 yards without scoring. The real man of the moment for New Orleans, though, was kicker Wil Lutz. Having missed a very kickable effort earlier in the game, the 25-year old knocked over a brilliant 58-yard effort at the death to hand the Saints the win.