The New Orleans Saints are currently sitting at 10-3 and in second place in the NFC. They share a record with the Green Bay Packers and are one game ahead of the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams are 9-4 and surging lately. Sean Payton found fault in himself for the Saints flat play in week 14. Payton and the Saints will have to play better going forward. Dropping another game will assuredly drain any hope of the Saints getting the top playoff seed. Any more than that and the Rams could jump into the second seed. Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints must avoid more late-season losses to have the best chance in the NFC playoffs.
Sean Payton and Saints Must Avoid More Late-Season Losses
New Orleans hasn’t been back to a Super Bowl since their winning season in 2009. Since then, the Saints have had crushing defeats both in and out of the playoffs. The last four games of the season usually determine playoff seeding and chances. In the regular season, Payton has only led the Saints to four winning records in the final four regular-season games. In six of the past 10 seasons, the Saints have finished their last four with a record of 2-2. If this majority holds, then the Saints chances at the NFC top overall seed will be greatly hindered. After the week 14 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the last four have not started ideally.
Sean Payton and Saints Success and Loss
Payton and the Saints winning should not be understated. They have made the playoffs in six of their past 10 seasons. These six seasons have all had winning records of 10 or more. Payton has never finished below seven wins in any of his seasons as the Saints head coach. The past two seasons, Payton has found himself without future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees in multiple games. The Saints are 8-1 in these games as Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill have filled in admirably for Brees. Payton’s role in game planning for these players’ strengths has kept the Saints afloat without Brees. If the Saints do finish out this season with Hill at quarterback and succeed in getting the number one seed, Payton will be a Coach of the Year contender.
Regular-season losses are can be overcome. It’s the playoff losses that cannot. Etched in the minds of every New Orleans Saints fan will be the playoff losses since 2009. The 2010 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, dubbed as the “Beastquake game” due to the Richter scale moving on Marshawn Lynch‘s game-winning run. The 2011 season ended at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers and Alex Smith even though the Saints were favored in the game. More recently, the two losses to the Minnesota Vikings stand out. One where a missed tackle led to a last-second miracle win by the Vikings. The other where the heavily favored Saints lost to the Vikings in the Super Dome. What might be the most controversial though is the 2018 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on a terrible non-call by the referees.
Avoiding More Late Season Losses
For the sake of the fan base starved for another Super Bowl appearance and the legacy of Sean Payton, the New Orleans Saints must avoid more late-season losses in 2020. Payton and the Saints will not find this task easy. First on the agenda is the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. Then an old foe, the Minnesota Vikings, come to New Orleans for another matchup which will surely be hotly contested. Lastly, the Saints finish with the divisional rival Carolina Panthers. What awaits in the playoffs will difficult as well. The Packers, Rams, Seahawks, and potentially another matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be on the agenda depending on seeding. Payton and whoever the quarterback is in the upcoming weeks will have to play better than they did in Week 14 to realize the organization’s Super Bowl aspirations.
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