Now that Week 9 is over and the New Orleans Saints have played half of their scheduled games, we can begin to simultaneously take a look back as well as take a look forward at what is in store.
Currently, the Saints are 6-2 and have the edge in the NFC South, but just barely. The Carolina Panthers are doing surprisingly well at 5-3 and are knocking at the door for their chance to claim the NFC South title this season. The Saints probably do not have to worry about the Atlanta Falcons or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, however, as they are currently 2-6 and 0-8 respectively.
The next quarter of the season will feature some of the toughest games for New Orleans this season. Upcoming games include matchups against the Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and a divisional game against the Falcons.
The next two games for the Saints are home games against the Cowboys and 49ers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will be easy ones. Just a few weeks ago, Tony Romo and the Cowboys went toe-to-toe with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos and scored upwards of 90 points combined. Dallas also has talented players on both sides of the ball, but sometimes lack consistent and smart coaching from Jason Garrett.
The 49ers are also talented on both sides of the ball and have an explosive young quarterback in Colin Kaepernick and a high-powered defense that loves to sack quarterbacks and make big plays. Saints fans all remember the heartbreaking divisional round playoff loss in San Francisco, so there is a bit of history between the two teams.
After the Saints hosts San Francisco, they have a short week and a road game against the Falcons on a Thursday. Short weeks and Thursday night games are not fun for the players, and divisional games are always competitive. This one could be interesting.
Perhaps the biggest test in this group of four games, however, comes when New Orleans travels to Seattle to take on the Seattle Seahawks. Up until Week 9, New Orleans and Seattle were vying for best record in the NFC and possibly even home-field advantage for the playoffs. It is difficult to beat the Seahawks anyway, but playing in their stadium is even harder. This will be a difficult one for the Saints.