After taking quick look at the remaining games on the New Orleans Saints‘ schedule, I was not quite sure how I felt. Currently the Saints are 5-1 and in their bye week after suffering their first loss of the season to the New England Patriots. While New Orleans looks to be in a very favorable position to reclaim the NFC South title, how the rest of their season will play out cannot be predicted.
Coming out of their bye week the Saints will host the Buffalo Bills at home in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. I hesitate to call this one a win, but is there anybody out there who honestly thinks that the Bills can travel down to Cajun country and defeat New Orleans where they play some of their best football?
I didn’t think so.
Their next three games consist of at the New York Jets and then hosting the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers in Weeks 10 and 11 respectively. I wouldn’t be so quick to count the New Orleans-New York game as a victory for the Saints, either. The Jets, although not a dominant powerhouse team, recently beat the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago. The Falcons may have gotten off to a poor start this season, but they are nonetheless a talented football team.
Those next two games are going to be important ones against fellow NFC opponents, and luckily for New Orleans they get to play them at home. The Cowboys recently went toe-to-toe with the Denver Broncos, putting up 48 points to the Broncos’ 51 and losing on a last second field goal. The 49ers, who are 4-2, are another solid football team and spoiled the Saints’ playoff run just two seasons ago in San Francisco. If the Saints came away from these two games 1-1 I would be happy.
From there New Orleans will have a short week and play a Thursday night game on the road against Atlanta. Saints/Falcons games have a tendency to be close games so this one could go either way, really.
The next game after the second match-up against the Falcons, however, will possibly be the biggest game for New Orleans in 2013. They will be in Seattle playing against the Seattle Seahawks. This game will be important because of playoff seeding later down the road, when the Saints and Seahawks will likely be vying for the No. 1 and No. 2 playoff seeds and home-field advantage, barring any midseason meltdowns or catastrophes.
The games remaining after the Seahawks road trip consist of the Carolina Panthers twice, the St. Louis Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to close out the season. All of these are potential wins, but it is the NFL, after all.
Even if the Saints went 5-5 in their remaining 10 games they would end up with a 10-6 overall record and the likely NFC South winner. More wins are obviously better, but certain games against NFC opponents need to be won if New Orleans would like to secure home-field advantage for the playoffs.
Time will tell.