After the New Orleans Saints pretty much laid an egg last Thursday night against the Los Angeles Rams, most members of the Who Dat Nation have put the proverbial fork in the 2023 season.

But, there's still a chance at making the playoffs. It's not a good one, but there is a glimmer of hope.

New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Rams
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What are the Saints' chances of making the playoffs?

The Saints (7-8) have two games remaining: Week 17 at Tampa Bay (8-7) and Week 18 vs Atlanta (7-8).

The simplest route to making postseason play would be for the Saints to win their last two games and have Tampa Bay get upset in Week 18 at the Carolina Panthers.

This would make the Saints 9-8 and Tampa 8-9. The best record Atlanta could have in that scenario would also be 8-9. Thus, the Saints would be NFC South Champions.

Of course, that would be a small miracle as it has been a debacle of a season for the Carolina Panthers. They're 2-13, have a struggling rookie quarterback and they fired their coach mid-season.

But, stranger things have happened.

If the Saints go 2-0 to finish the season and the Buccaneers go 1-1, the two teams would both end at 9-8. The division would then come down to the third tiebreaker -- record against common opponents -- and the Saints have no chance of catching the Bucs there.

New York Giants v New Orleans Saints
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How about the wildcard picture?

This is where things get a bit squirrely. A total of seven teams will make the playoffs in the NFC. Four of those are division champs. Then there are three wildcard teams.

The 49ers and Lions have locked up their respective divisions. The Cowboys and Eagles have both clinched playoff spots. One will be division champs and one will be a wildcard team. So, that leaves two wildcard spots open.

In this scenario, we'd have the Buccaneers as a division champ. Right now, the top two wildcard teams are the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks, each at 8-7.

After that, there's a logjam of 7-8 teams, sitting in this order: Vikings, Packers, Saints, Falcons.

The Saints are one of six NFC teams with either a 7-8 or 8-7 record right now. The first tiebreaker for wild-card seeding is head-to-head record, and the Saints have lost to four of the other five teams they are competing with for those aforementioned two playoff spots. (Seattle is the only team of those that they haven't played this season.)

Assuming the Saints win out, they'd have to finish with a better record than three of the four following teams to get a wild-card berth: Green Bay, Minnesota, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

Green Bay and Minnesota play each other in Week 17, so if the Saints win out they'll have a better record than at least one of those teams that are currently 7-8.

Out of the two, the best scenario is for Minnesota to beat Green Bay this week and then lose to Detroit in Week 18, helping the Saints' cause.

That would then leave the two teams in the NFC West, both of which have one-game leads over the Saints in the standings. The Rams beat the Saints so they'd have the leg up and so would the Seahawks. In their case, it would go to the fourth tiebreaker, strength of victories, and they have that over the Saints.

For the Saints to beat out one of those teams, they'd need either the Rams or Seahawks to lose both of its last two games. The Rams have road games against the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers and the Seahawks host the Pittsburgh Steelers before finishing at the Arizona Cardinals.

If both the Rams and Seahawks win in Week 17, then the Saints' only chance to make the playoffs is to win the NFC South by winning the next two weeks and praying for the Panthers to beat the Buccaneers in Week 18.

Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints
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Conclusion

There's a chance. A very convoluted small chance that the Saints make the playoffs.

NFL's Next Gen Stats have the Saints currently with a 13% chance of making the playoffs. With a win, that bumps up to 28%. With a loss, there's a less than 1% chance they make the playoffs.

NFL Records Held By New Orleans Saints Players

A number of current and former members of the New Orleans Saints hold NFL records.

Gallery Credit: Scott Prather

 

 

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