Saints Still An Enigma With Two Games Left
At 6-8, Saints in control of playoff destiny, hosting postseason game
Sitting two games under .500, it hasn’t been the most enjoyable Saints football season. But for one day, the New Orleans Saints and their fans can forget about games past and play and cheer for a division crown. With two games left to reach 8-8 and avoid a losing season, the New Orleans Saints are remarkably sitting atop the NFC South and on Sunday could secure the fourth seed and a home game in the Conference Playoffs should they beat the arch-rival Atlanta Falcons and the Cleveland Browns down the Carolina Panthers.
But the question of which team will show has Saints fans as anxious as children on Christmas Eve.
Will we get the team that stomped the Green Bay Packers 44-23 at the end of October or the squad who fell 41-10 to the Carolina Panthers two weeks ago?
A 31-15 December drubbing of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Monday Night Football last week has Saints fans showing a bit of optimism. After a heart-to-heart with several players, head coach Sean Payton got the response he was looking for. The rain-soaked game started badly for both teams, but the Saints were able to overcome their mistakes and persevere.
Will that be the team that runs out of the tunnel on Sunday?
Or with everything to play for, will they again be embarrassed by Flacons QB Matt Ryan & Co.?
I’m astounded, even flabbergasted, that the Saints still have a dog in the playoff hunt. It seemed the team was doomed in September. Yet, here they are with everything on the line against our most hated foe.
We mustn’t forget that Atlanta has as much to play for as New Orleans. They are expected to bring their A game. And we know they will. We will, too. Saints and Falcons fans would be up for this game, filling either the Superdome or Georgia Dome, even if both teams were eliminated from the post-season. This is our rivalry. Bragging rights are on the line. And, as an anomaly to both franchises long-suffering history, post-season play is, remarkably, on the line.
Punting the Decision
I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to congratulate Saints punter/kicker Thomas Morstead on being named as the Saints’ Man of the Year. I got to know Morstead this year working my day job at Children’s Hospital. His foundation, What You Give Will Grow, sponsored the cancer walk during the hospital’s Jazz Half Marathon and 5K. In addition to sponsoring the race, he often, and without fanfare, visits with patients and their families at the hospital, taking time to talk with everyone who wants to meet him and obliging fans with photos and autographs. He has been a true friend to the New Orleans community in his five years with the Saints and, righteously, is known as a Saint.
Morestead will represent the Saints in consideration for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award, which will be announced during the NFL Honors awards show Jan. 31.