The Sun will take a look at all 13 of the Ravens' 2010 opponents. Today's early scouting report is on the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, the Ravens’ opponent in Week 15:
Head coach: Sean Payton (42-27 overall)
2009 record: 13-3
Biggest addition: DE Alex Brown. The Saints needed to address this position after they released Charles Grant, a disruptive presence who is coming off an arm injury. Brown, who became expendable in Chicago after the Bears signed Julius Peppers, relies more on strength than quickness.
Key loss: LB Scott Fujita. The strong-side linebacker went to Cleveland in free agency, leaving a void on and off the field. Fujita was considered by many as the Saints' most consistent linebacker last year and was a valuable leader in the locker room. New Orleans really never replaced him this offseason.
Question mark: Can the Saints remain healthy? Depth has to be a concern for New Orleans. Injuries were a factor in the Saints losing their final three games last season before going on their Super Bowl run. The biggest dropoff if at quarterback, where Patrick Ramsey (who is expected to be signed by New Orleans before training camp), Chase Daniel and Sean Canfield will compete to back up Drew Brees.
Projected 2010 finish: 11-5, second in the NFC South. The Saints definitely have the offense to repeat as Super Bowl champions. The defense, well, has to prove it's not a one-year wonder. The loss of Grant and Fujita along with safety Darren Sharper's uncertain status after microfracture knee surgery could spell trouble for a defense that often took risks. Last year, the gambling resulted in turnovers. This year, that style could hurt the team. But it would be shocking if the Saints weren't among the top teams in the NFC in 2010.
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