The Saints Are Coming Undone
After reaching .500, two game skid drops team to 4-6
Just when it seemed like a New Orleans Saints playoff run was easily within reach, POOF! That feeling is gone.
Two weeks ago, the Saints sat at 4-4. Having rebounded from an 0-3 start, the Black & Gold went 4-1 to draw an even record half way through the season.
I thought we were on the verge of really making some noise in the NFC race. With reigning Super Bowl champion Denver and NFC champion Carolina up and vulnerable, I thought the team could stretch their run to 6-1 and beyond, and could battle Atlanta for the division crown. I even wrote that it wasn’t ridiculous to start talking about the playoffs (with the appropriate nod to Jim Mora, of course).
Since then, a two-game losing skid has dropped the team to 4-6 and the cellar of the NFC South. Special teams swung both games, but equally troubling in the Saints losses against the Broncos and Panthers, is that the ever-dependable offense choked in the first half, having scored just three points before the third quarter in both contests.
With six regular season games left to go, postseason opportunities are slipping away ever faster. However, the Saints are not mathematically eliminated.
The Falcons sit atop the division at 6-4, with the Buccaneers second at 5-5, and New Orleans and Carolina tied at 4-6.
In order to make the playoffs, the Saints must win the NFC South or win enough games to qualify as a wild card team. Dallas (9-1), Seattle (7-2-1), Detroit (6-4), and Atlanta (6-4) currently lead their respective divisions. The New York Giants (7-3) and Washington (6-3-1), both NFC East teams, are currently in the two Wild Card positions.
Of the Saints’ final six games, only two opponents – Atlanta and Detroit – have winning records, and three remaining games are against NFC South rivals. The team will play home games against the Rams and Lions before going on the road to Tampa Bay and Arizona. They’ll be home against the Buccaneers on Christmas Eve, then close the season on New Year’s Day at Atlanta, a team that would love nothing more than to stomp New Orleans on their way to winning the division.
For the Saints’ postseason hopes to remain alive, every game is now a must win. That will be a difficult feat, especially for the defense, considering injuries are piling up and safety Kenny Vaccaro is facing a potential four-game suspension for a positive test for Adderall, a stimulant banned by the NFL without prior medical approval.
As we enter late November it might be hard for Saints fans to display holiday cheer, but the magic of the season requires faith. And that’s something the Who Dat? Nation has in surplus.
Do you believe?
NFC South standings
Rank Team Record PCT PF PA Home Road Streak
1 Falcons 6-4 .600 320 283 2-2 4-2 L1
2 Buccaneers 5-5 .500 235 259 1-4 4-1 W2
3 Saints 4-6 .400 285 286 2-3 2-3 L2
4 Panthers 4-6 .400 244 246 3-3 1-3 W1
New Orleans Saints remaining 2016 schedule
Date Time Opponent
Nov 27 Noon Rams
Dec 4 Noon Lions
Dec 11 Noon Buccaneers
Dec 18 3:05 p.m. Cardinals
Dec 24 Noon Buccaneers
Jan 1 Noon Falcons
Home games in italics