Just like that the 2013 NFL regular season came and went, and now we enter the playoffs. There was a lot of great action and plenty of heartbreak for fans and spectators throughout the season. For the New Orleans Saints and their fanbase it was no different. The Saints started the season with a 5-0 record, and entering the month of December they were 9-2 and well positioned to take the NFC South and go into the postseason as the No. 2 seed.
That quickly changed, however. New Orleans got embarrassed on the road against the Seattle Seahawks but quickly bounced back with a win against the Carolina Panthers at home in prime time. What followed, though, was two straight road losses to the St. Louis Rams and the Panthers. The Saints eventually finished 11-5 and qualified for the playoffs with the lowest seed in the NFC.
Now New Orleans must go on the road for as long they are in the playoffs if they hope to make it as far as New Jersey for the Super Bowl. This and their 3-5 road record in 2013 does not offer a lot of hope, but it can be done. Think back to some of the previous Super Bowl winners and how they got there.
The 2010 Green Bay Packers come to mind. During that season Green Bay entered the playoffs as a wild card team and played three straight road games to make it to the Super Bowl. The 2011 New York Giants went into the playoffs as a 9-7 team but eventually came away with the Lombardi Trophy. Even last year’s winner, the Baltimore Ravens, pulled off a victory in Denver and then in New England before they took their place as champions.
These anecdotes are by no means any indication as to how the Saints will fare this year, but it should give a little hope to doubters out there. New Orleans is built to win and is loaded with talent. Drew Brees had another 5,000-plus yard passing season, Jimmy Graham is almost impossible to cover and the defensive unit led by Rob Ryan has made a remarkable turnaround from just a year ago. And let’s not forget that all of this is concocted and schemed by Sean Payton.
Now is the time for the Saints to snag their first road victory in the playoffs, and I believe they will pull it off. After all, they have to.