November reign before December claim
At season midpoint Saints in prime position
The 2017 New Orleans Saints season is going down as one for the ages. The Saints suffered two devastating losses to open the season, but have rebounded with a six-game winning streak. Halfway through the regular season, the Black & Gold are 6-2, in first place in the division, and one of the better teams in the conference.
After beating Tampa Bay last weekend to run their division record to 2-0, the Saints close out November with non-division games against the Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins, and Los Angeles Rams (It feels good writing that again!). The Saints will be likely be favored in the first two, but the tilt against the Rams the Sunday after Thanksgiving is growing with playoff implications every week. After being an also ran for the past several years, head coach Sean McVay and quarterback Jared Goff, the top overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, have the Rams at 6-2, currently tied with the Saints and Minnesota Vikings behind the conference leading Philidelphia Eagles, 8-1.
A sweep of these three and the promise of a winning season before entering December are possible. That result, while in no means to be taken for granted, would position the Saints nicely to battle to claim the NFC South crown.
In an effort to create as much late season drama as possible, the NFL has stacked games featuring division opponents in the final month of the season. The Saints will play division opponents four out of last five weeks of the season with a game against the New York Jets wedged in mid-month. New Orleans will host the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 3, and go on the road to Atlanta for a Thursday night game against the Falcons four days later. They’ll play in the Superdome against the Jets on Dec. 17, and the Falcons on Christmas Eve, before closing out the season in Tampa on New Year’s Eve. The Falcons have to play the Saints and Buccaneers twice in December. The Panthers have one game against each division opponent.
While no one in the Saints’ locker room is ready to talk about the postseason, the faithful a hopeful. New Orleans is ready to put three straight losing seasons in the rearview mirror. They believe in this team. After being told that since 1990, only 12 percent of teams to start season 0-2 went on to the playoffs, they are now telling everyone that, with an assist from ESPN, since 1967, the Saints are only the third team to win six straight following an 0-2 start. The other two, the ’93 Cowboys, ’07 Giants, went on to win the Super Bowl.
Saints football is the talk of the town. While it may be trivial for a game to take up such an important place in our lives and happiness, it’s nice for our team to be a unifying element of our community. For that, bless you, boys.
2017 NFC South Standings
After starting the season 0-2, the Saints have won six straight and are in first place in the NFC South.
Team W L Pct PF PA Div Home Away Strk
Saints 6 2 .750 221 155 2-0 3-1 3-1 W6
Panthers 6 3 .667 168 159 2-1 2-2 4-1 W2
Falcons 4 4 .500 170 172 0-1 1-2 3-2 L1
Buccaneers 2 6 .250 158 198 0-2 2-2 0-4 L5