The addition of fast Wide Receiver Margene Adkins, traded from the Dallas Cowboys, could open up an attack that has lacked outside speed and the threat of the long pass. Adkins' presence will make life easier for Danny Abramowicz, the Raymond Berry-like flanker, and for Dave Parks, at tight end.
An improved passing game will, in turn, open paths for the good New Orleans running backs. Here, too, the Saints got help from the Cowboys in Joe Williams, who can spell starters Bob Gresham and Jim Strong. The offensive line has matured, and the Saints should be able to move on nearly any defense.
But, alas, that perforable defense and a poor pass rush allow opposing quarterbacks to pick apart the secondary. And alas, the kicking. For some arcane reason the Saints last year sent Tom Dempsey to Philadelphia, where he has specialized in long, long field goals. No one on the Saints specializes in even chip-shot field goals.
So look for the Rams to edge out San Francisco, with Atlanta a long shot and the Saints still marching in fourth.