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Super Bowl winner tips Carr to lead the Saints back to the NFL play-offs

Super Bowl winner tips Carr to lead the Saints back to the NFL play-offs
Super Bowl winner tips Carr to lead the Saints back to the NFL play-offs

Former New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma believes quarterback Derek Carr can lead his new team into the NFL play-offs this season.

Carr spent nine years with the Las Vegas Raiders before joining the Saints as a free agent on a four-year contract worth $150 million earlier this year.

The 2009 Super Bowl winners will undoubtedly be eager to see a return on their investment and the early signs were promising during the opening round of games over the weekend.

Carr withstood a barrage from the Tennessee Titans to guide the Saints to a narrow 16-15 victory in front of a packed house at the Caesars Superdome.

While the Saints can still be backed at odds of 33/1 with top online sportsbook Betway to win the Super Bowl, Vilma believes Carr could be a difference maker for them this season.

“You look across the NFC, I really think that the Saints are going to be contenders,” Vilma said. “Derek Carr – he’s been a Pro Bowl quarterback, a top-tier quarterback for most much of his career.

“Adding that component to an already top-10 defence, with Mike Thomas, Chris Olave – they’ll definitely be a formidable opponent when it’s down to the stretch and play-off time.”

Carr’s debut performance was undoubtedly eye-catching for a team that has missed out on the play-offs in each of the past two seasons.

The Saints previously won NFC South for four consecutive years and are understandably eager to progress to the post-season shoot-out this time around.

Carr passed for more than 300 yards and a touchdown against the Titans, with wide receivers Olave, Rashid Shaheed and Michael Thomas the primary beneficiaries of his accuracy with the ball.

Shaheed overcame his turnover on the opening kick-off tofinish with five receptions for 89 yards and the game’s solitarytouchdown.

Olave caught eight passes for 112 yards, while Thomasreturned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines to catch five passes for 61 yards.

The Saints coped admirably without star running back Alvin Kamara, who was serving the first game of his three-match suspension, to prove their have other offensive talents in their ranks.

That will be music to the ears of head coach Dennis Allen, who already has one of the best defensive units in the NFL at his disposal.

Vilma believes Carr will prove to be the icing on the cake for the Saints and has backed his former team to make a strong bid to reach the 2023 Super Bowl.

“Carr is a top-10 quarterback in the NFL,” Vilma added. “He’s produced year in, year out for many years, and on those teams with the Raiders it almost felt like it was him and nobody else.

“Now he has a defence. He’s always had weapons, but now he has more weapons to work with.

“So I see the Saints having expectations where Carr doesn’t have to force the ball, and if he just plays within himself then the defence will take over and they’ll win a lot of games.

“Then all of a sudden you find yourself winning that NFC South and you’re guaranteed hosting a play-off game. You win that, you’re in the divisional round.

“I can realistically see the Saints making it to the divisional round and possibly farther.”

Damond Talbot

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at

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