The short answer is yes, maybe.
After reading through several Saints related blogs and websites following their crushing Week 13 34-7 loss at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks, this was a question that was thrown around quite a bit.
Yes, it was a spectacularly bad loss and bad game by the New Orleans Saints last Monday night, but it is more than just that. Several factors played a role in that loss, whether it was being on the road in a hostile stadium, play breakdown, a superb Seattle defense, or the spectacular play of second-year quarterback Russell Wilson. Whatever it was, it was definitely an outlier game for the Saints.
New Orleans still has a top 10 offense behind Brees and is masterminded by Sean Payton. There are still plenty of options and weapons for Brees to turn to, with Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham, reliable veteran Marques Colston, and versatile running back Darren Sproles all at his disposal.
The defense, led by Rob Ryan, is not that bad either. Despite giving up more than 300 passing yards to Wilson and allowing them to score 34 points, New Orleans still has a top 10 overall defense. Against the Seahawks, the Saints gambled and focused much of their attention on stopping powerful Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch. They essentially dared Wilson to execute and make plays, and he did. They gambled and lost that one.
Like a young Indiana Jones was told after having to give up a priceless artifact to a band of thieves, “You lost today kid, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it.”
Payton and Ryan commented as such during the week, admitting that that was not who they were and they did not like it. I would expect them to come out fired up with a well-researched game plan for their matchup against division rival Carolina Panthers, especially since the Saints will be looking to break the record for crowd noise at an indoor stadium Sunday night.
All signs are pointing to a Saints victory. Where they go after this game is up to them, win or lose, but they have what it takes to go all the way.