All the New Orleans Saints have done over the past nine weeks is win football games and climb up the NFC playoff picture.
A 15-point fourth quarter comeback over the Washington Redskins at home proved that the Saints are legit. Alvin Kamara‘s juggling touchdown reception and successful two-point conversion during the final minute of the game proved that he’s a legit candidate for Rookie of the Year considerations. Even Drew Brees got the last laugh over his critics and put on a phenomenal performance in the final five minutes of the game, as he completed all 11 of his passes for 164 yards.
It seems like everything is falling back into place for the Saints. The last time that the Saints had an eight-game winning streak was in 2009, where the Saints stormed their way to a No. 1 seed and a Super Bowl title.
Is it possible for the Saints to do this once again in 2017?
Unfortunately, the Philadelphia Eagles have basically locked down the top spot in the NFC playoff picture. However, that still doesn’t mean that the Saints aren’t capable enough of having a first-round bye and hosting a divisional round playoff game.
This current season for the Saints has a lot of hope, and hope is something that the Saints haven’t had in a really long time. Hope is what defined the Saints during the early years of the Brees-Sean Payton era. Just months removed from Hurricane Katrina, Saints football was the thing that brought New Orleans residents closer together and reminded them that things are going to get better in the end. Even though the rebuilding process after a tragedy is never easy, one thing that was constant was that a Saints game was bound to bring people more joy than misery.
But after finishing 7-9 in four of the last five seasons, the hope that was in the Saints post-Katrina started to go away. While it was amazing to see Brees and the offense click on all cylinders week after week, it was even more frustrating seeing the defense playing at a significantly different level than the offense. Whenever the Saints had a fourth-quarter lead, it was very nerve-wracking to see if they would maintain that lead to win the game or blow that lead and lose. And for a majority of the time, the Saints ended up blowing huge leads and falling short.
In the case of this current team, there isn’t a whole lot of that anymore. There is a lot more balance between the offense and the defense, and it’s even between the passing game and the running game. Brees isn’t forced to put up big numbers anymore because the offensive line is working together to be a more cohesive unit and Kamara and Mark Ingram are taking advantage of the opportunities that their offensive line is giving them. With the equality that presented with the offense and the defense, the Saints are learning how to play more inspiring football to win games.
It truly is 2009 all over again for the Saints, and there’s absolutely no doubt that they are bound for another magical playoff run.
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