The Saints Are (Still) Going To The Playoffs!
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages; the New Orleans Saints are going to the NFL Playoffs...still!
I made the prediction that the Saints would make the playoff back in mid--October, after they defeated the Detroit Lions, 52-38, to improve to 3-2 on the season.
Check out the full article, here.
Since the Saints are 6-2 at the midway point, I figured that now would be an appropriate time to revisit that prediction.
I got a lot of, shall we say, less than favorable feedback from that prediction.
Now, don't get me wrong; most people were nice. As a mater of fact, they seemed very concerned about my well-being, giving me recommendations for several psychiatrists and therapists, and such.
Truthfully, even as optimistic as I was, the Saints are a game ahead of even where I thought they'd be halfway though the season, as I would have said 5-3.
The fact that they're 6-2 surprises even me.
But now that they're 6-2, and in sole possession of first place in the NFC South, wouldn't you now pick the Saints to make the playoffs?
Oh, there is no guarantee, and a lot bad things can still happen. After all, the 1993 Saints began the year 5-0 and failed to make the playoffs, finishing with an 8-8 record.
That being said,it would be very disappointing if the Saints failed to make the playoffs this year.
They are playing well, and can get even better.
Now, to be fair, and to put things into perspective, the only two teams with winning records that the Saints have beaten this season have been the Panthers and the Packers, who were playing without Aaron Rodgers.
The win streak has been fun, and there are a lot fewer people questioning my sanity nowadays, but the jury is still out on whether or not this team is more than a playoff team.
From a schedule standpoint, the Saints host the Redskins, Jets, Panthers, and Falcons the rest of the way, with road games at Bills, Rams, Falcons, and Buccaneers.
The Bills and Rams are a lot better than anyone, including myself, ever expected, and those game will be on the road, so the schedule in the second half is tougher than I anticipated.
Still, if they can just split their remaining four road games, and go 3-1 at home in the second half, then they can finish 11-5.
I think that's very realistic.
Actually, I think 12-4 is realistic, but after going out on a limb a month ago, I want to be a little conservative now.
As I said last month, despite going 7-9 for three-consecutive seasons, the Saints were much better in 2016 than they were in 2014.
I'm still waiting for Delvin Breaux to return, and for Willie Snead to come close to producing at the level he did last season.
Hopefully, starting guard Larry Warford come back completely healthy in a few weeks as well.
If those things happen, with this young, athletic, exciting young crop of players, the Saints may easily get to that 11-5 mark, and beyond.
And it that happens, then you can start thinking of this team as something more than just a playoff team.
Funny thing; but just four weeks after most people thought I was nuts for saying the Saints were going to the playoffs, now those same people would consider it a major disappointment if the Saints didn't make the playoffs.
As I told you two weeks ago, it's time to jump on the bandwagon!
You better hurry however, as room is dwindling pretty rapidly!