Don’t Forget About Us!

Can Drew Brees and the Saints overcome a season plagued by inconsistencies?

As far as sleeper teams can go the New Orleans Saints probably do not qualify as one heading into wildcard weekend. Their inconsistent play has left their obvious Super Bowl Contender pre-season status to be lifted by many people. Despite the drop off in their level of play this season, reaching the playoffs does not exactly qualify them in the hangover category either and fans should realize that this is a team that should not be overlooked.

In their final game of the season with the possibility of overtaking the Atlanta Falcons in the very competitive NFC South the Saints came out flat against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Even though the likelihood of Carolina Panthers beating the Falcons was slim to none with a division title on the line, the Saints still didn’t put forth a performance of a Super Bowl Contender.

The Buccaneers were better than the Saints in virtually every aspect of the game. Drew Brees threw an interception for the 12th consecutive game and saying that is very uncharacteristic of him may even be a bit of a stretch with the way he has played this season.

However, we should not fall asleep with regards to the Saints and their chances at making a legitimate run at the Super Bowl.

After weathering their initial Super Bowl “hangover” the Saints seemed to hit their stride if you want to look at wins and losses exclusively, but it was evident that these were not those same Saints that won the NFL world over with their magical run last season.

With that being said, the Saints have shown flashes of returning to their Super Bowl form as a team. At numerous points during the year there were times when many people, including myself, thought “hey, they’re back.”

The Saints have laid the foundation that is needed to win a Super Bowl as they have lost very few players from their Super Bowl winning team. Outside linebacker Scott Fujita is probably the most notable of the players who did not return to the team this season. The issue has been putting it all together on a weekly basis.

There is no reason why the Saints can’t get hot for a four game stretch much like the New York Giants did when they slipped into the playoffs a few years back and knocked off the undefeated New England Patriots.

Drew Brees is probably the biggest factor when it comes to the Saints success as any quarterback is to their respective team. His ability to make almost every throw imaginable has been such a large part of what has made the Saints a great team.

I mentioned above his 12 consecutive games with at least one pick which is a remarkable feat for a guy one year removed from breaking the record for the highest completion percentage in a single season. His individual consistency essentially symbolizes what the New Orleans Saints have been like as a team throughout the season.

Nevertheless, Brees is still one of the most accurate passers in the history of the game. He has proven that he can handle the pressure of the big game and if he can perform in the playoffs in a similar manner to the way he executed against the Steelers in Week 8 when he threw for over 300 yards in a 20-10 victory then there is no telling what this team can do.

Their offence still ranks in the top 10 in the league in points, total yards and passing yards. Even though the team ranks 27th in rushing yards the running game has gained some steam in the last few weeks behind undrafted rookie Chris Ivory and the return of both Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas to the lineup.

More importantly though, their defence has not experienced too much of a dropoff in level as they rank 11th in total points allowed and 6th in total yards allowed. Although their total amount of so-called “takeaways” has fallen off with only 25 compared to 39 forced turnovers last year should not be such a cause for concern. Even though better defences are able to force more turnovers the Saints did it at an alarming rate last season that it was most likely not going to be repeated again this year. In my eyes, the amount of turnovers a team “forces” generally has more to do with the mistakes of the opposition rather than the supreme ability of the defence making this a stat that should even out to a certain extent over time and I think that is precisely what is taking place this season.

Moreover, for the better part of the season the defence was not stellar last year and if the offence plays like it should be able to then there is no need for the Saints defence to be extraordinary. Making the plays they are supposed to make and coming up with a big play on occasion may once again be enough for New Orleans.

The playoffs are a whole other beast and to forget about the Saints at this point would just be plain stupid. In a season where the Super Bowl is up for grabs more than ever, with no team able to take a stranglehold of top dog in the NFL, the Saints are primed to make a run at Vince Lombardi.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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About Chris Ross
Questions, comments, suggestions? Send yours to cross_can15@hotmail.com. Follow me on twitter @paintstheblack

8 Responses to Don’t Forget About Us!

  1. Temple3 says:

    The Saints are going as far as Ivory, Thomas and Bush take them. Brees will improve and cut down on picks if those guys can get some flow. They’ll be a tough out — as long as they don’t assume they can/will/should beat anyone — including Seattle.

  2. tophatal says:

    Chris

    Inconsistencies are beginning to show up with the Saints and that’s not a healthy thing at this time of the season. The Bucs made them look all too pedantic yesterday and it doesn’t bode well for their postseason ambitions. Unless Sean Payton can get this team playing at a much higher standard they could end up bowing out in the first round of the playoffs !

    tophatal ……….

  3. TGO says:

    I believe the Saints should have an easy time of it against the Seahawks, but their next opponent might be the one that does them in. They just aren’t playing that well or consistently right now. I just don’t see them beating Chicago, Philadelphia or Green Bay. Chicago and Green Bay have tough defenses, and Philadelphia can score almost at will when clicking. Either way, I don’t believe the Saints could beat Pittsburgh, Baltimore or New England should they somehow make it to the Super Bowl, which I don’t believe they will.

  4. I love how Chris throws it down and still presents both sides.

    I could very easily understand how it would be convenient to sleep on the Saints. That being said, it is also very stupid.

    Should New Orleans get out of the NFC, I don’t have any feeling that they would be able to beat New England.

    Meehan

    firstorderhistorians.wordpress.com

  5. Mister Matic says:

    Thanks for the Comment. You also have a great post here. I’m with you, the Saints this year are not the same as last year we can all agree on that. But the way they play Win or Lose, are both just missing the Saints Spark of last year. It’s probably its up and down running back carasoul, or like you stated the lack of turnovers from their defense. I believe though, after their win in Seattle, Drew Brees will come out to play in the divisional rounds, and maybe thats when they’ll regain their spark. I believe they can win at Atlanta and Chicago.

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