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The New Orleans Saints are a team that could make it to the playoffs after missing them.
Consider the New Orleans Saints one of the most likely football teams to make it to the playoffs this fall, after missing them completely a season ago.
Jim Trotter of NFL.com selected the Saints as one of three teams outside the playoffs a year ago he is incredibly optimistic about. While his two other picks in the Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Chargers are not that surprising, it raises a few eyebrows to have the Saints as his most likely team to go to a deep playoff game. The Saints may have a strong culture, but one that is evolving.
Let’s discuss how realistic it is for the Saints to return to the playoffs in the upcoming NFL season.
Will the New Orleans Saints reach the playoffs in 2022 or not?
The three biggest things Trotter points out that are in the Saints’ favor are that they are not going to be as injured as they were a year ago, they are playing in the weaker NFC, and they still got 9-8 despite all the latter. season. New Orleans may not be ready to catch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC South, but the Saints are far better than their two other division rivals.
As for reasons not to believe in the Saints, Trotter offers key departures within the organization, as well as quarterbacking instability. Jameis Winston may be a former No. 1 overall pick, but the failed former Buccaneers starter will now be coached by defensive-minded Dennis Allen and not the offensive genius Sean Payton, who decided to retire after 15 seasons at the helm .
What this really comes down to is which teams have locks to handle the post-season in the NFC. Currently, there are three without a doubt: the Tampa Bay, the Green Bay Packers and the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams. Aside from something unforeseen, New Orleans would come in as one of three NFC Wild Card teams; they are not ready to win the division right now.
Looking at teams that will compete for Wild Card seats with New Orleans, these would be a handful of teams: Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers and Washington Commanders. As for the other seven teams in the NFC, it would be more shocking than not if they qualified for the playoffs in 2022.
In short, the Saints are likely to be a spot in the fifth to ninth best teams in the NFC this season. Of the NFC teams that did not reach the off-season a year ago, either the Saints or the Vikings should be the best bet to get into. Both are clearly the second best team in their respective divisions. The question is whether they are good enough to steal a space from the east or west.
If all goes right for the Saints, they could be an 11-6 team and get that No. 5 seed by finishing maybe a game or so behind the Buccaneers. Should it hit the tab, this could be a team in third place, with either the Atlanta Falcons or the Carolina Panthers shockingly skipping them in the NFC South standings. The Saints have a great variety, but probably more of the negative variety.
What this comes down to is how much you trust the Saints’ culture and Winston’s second real game as an NFL starting quarterback. Allen needs to be better as NFL head coach this time because he can not get much worse than his time as head of the then Oakland Raiders. In the end, the Saints could make it to the playoffs, but it’s a risky proposition to go deep.
If the Saints get to the playoffs, they can win a game or two, but that’s not the end of the world.