Jim Henderson's Black & Gold Breakdown: Saints v Cardinals

Jim Henderson's Black & Gold Breakdown: Saints v Cardinals

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - If every weekend in the NFL proves that as a fortune-teller you know nothing, you know even less than that in the season-opening weekend.

Odds-makers who see the Cardinals as two-and-a-half point favorites on Sunday can only look at last year's results and additions and subtractions to the roster since in determining the opening-day line.

With regulars seeing historically low participation in pre-season in 2015, anyone who uses that four-game exhibition slate as empirical evidence of what the regular season will bring is particularly foolhardy.

In making the Cardinals slight favorites, the odds-makers would probably cite these factors:

The cards have won five straight home-openers. The Saints haven't opened the season with a road win since 2006 at Cleveland, Sean Payton's first game as their head coach.

The return of Carson Palmer at quarterback. When he suffered the second torn ACL of his career last year, the Cardinals were 6 and 0. In his last 15 starts, he is 13 and 2. While the Cardinals have an unsettled offensive line in front of him, the Saints have yet to identify anyone who is a consistent pass-rushing threat.

From 2014, the Saints will be missing their best receiver in Jimmy Graham, best pass rusher in Junior Galette, best ball-hawk (statistically at least) in Jairus Byrd and best cover corner in Keenan Lewis. They have seen little or nothing in pre-season from the likes of C.J. Spiller, Byrd and Brandon Browner.

What they have seen is Drew Brees looking like Brees at his best. The odds-makers don't think that will be enough.  The Saints have to hope that it is.

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