The New Orleans Saints could have secured themselves a playoff spot with a Week 15 victory over the lowly St. Louis Rams, who had already been eliminated from playoff contention. Instead, New Orleans played what had to have been one of their worst games thus far in the 2013 NFL season.
It was just an ugly game to watch if you were a Saints fan. Everything just seemed to go wrong for them. The Saints uncharacteristically had three turnovers, all of which were on quarterback Drew Brees. They had no answer for rookie running back Zach Stacy and New Orleans offensive line just did not perform for the most part, allowing Brees to get sacked four times and pressured even more.
The Saints were even caught off guard in the first quarter by an onside kick called by Rams’ head coach Jeff Fisher. That eventually led a field goal and put New Orleans in a 17-point hole just minutes into the second quarter.
All in all, New Orleans just looked lazy and lackadaisical. They were outplayed and outcoached. Quite simply, we expect better from head coach Sean Payton and former Super Bowl MVP Brees.
On top of all this, in addition to the poor play in Week 15, the Carolina Panthers defeated the New York Jets and pulled even with the Saints at 10-4. Next week’s road game for New Orleans against the Panthers suddenly takes on new meaning.
Sure, the Saints have one of the best road records since 2009. But with a 3-4 road record this season and some stunningly bad performances, they sure do not look like on of the better road teams. New Orleans is still in good shape to wrap up the NFC South and take the No. 2 seed, but Saints fans everywhere must have a little uneasiness in their stomachs about going in to Carolina and essentially playing for the division.
Cam Newton is only getting better as the season and his career progresses, their defense is still fairly solid and they will have the home-field advantage next week. If New Orleans wants to quiet the naysayers, next week is the time to do it and take back the lead in their division.