We’ve witnessed a season of ups and downs for the New Orleans Saints. It’s rare, but not impossible, to see such a heavily favored team at the beginning of a football season find themselves in the position that the Saints are currently in. The team has been given several ‘gifts’ repeatedly this season, and have had the chance to change their misfortunes. Sadly, they have failed to deliver in each of these opportunities.
The Saints are once again in a familiar position to make their own destiny after this weekend of play, and it again begs the question, are these Saints able to pull together and respond to the challenge at hand?
The Carolina Panthers (5-8-1) currently hold the NFC South crown, but a win by the Saints tonight against the Chicago Bears (5-8) will move them into first place of the division.
There existed a somber mood in the air within the franchise prior to this week, and it’s evident that it’s been there for quite some time.
When it rains, it pours. The Saints have been associated to some of the nastiest rumors and speculation out there this season. Anything from Drew Brees being replaced after this season to Sean Payton taking a walk after this year has been suggested.
However, things have appeared to yield to recent changes around the locker room and overall atmosphere, as coach Sean Payton made it clear in more ways than one that this team is going to get it right.
You’ve likely heard things like, ‘the team has been more focused’, and the ‘horseplay’ has ceased in practices. Players like Kenny Vaccaro, who was the subject to an inaccurate report of being bench, are acting more humble by the mere thoughts of being benched. Even Junior Galette, who publicly criticized some former teammates, appears to see the error of his ways. The team is trying anything and everything to buckle down with three games left in their season.
On one hand, we can ask ourselves, how have things gotten to this point with so few games left on the schedule that the team now finally decides to operate at the mentality level they should have all season?
On another hand, we stick to the cliché of believing actions speak louder than words. Quite simply put, we’ve heard this all before, right?
When it’s all said and done, we only want to know one things: Will the Saints be the team to represent the NFC South when the playoffs start on January 3rd? That remains to be seen.
Do they have enough in the locker room to pull this thing together and deliver? Yes, I honestly believe that. Many of us haven’t given up.
However, they have to get through the Chicago Bears tonight on Monday Night Football before anything else happens. The deck is once again stacked against the Saints, as they haven’t won in the month of December against the Bears in the Sean Payton Era.
Last five meetings between the Bears-Saints:
10/6/13 – New Orleans Saints 26, Chicago Bears 18
9/18/11 – New Orleans Saints 30, Chicago Bears 13
12/11/08 – Chicago Bears 27, New Orleans Saints 24 (F/OT)
12/30/07 – Chicago Bears 33, New Orleans Saints 25
1/21/07* – Chicago Bears 39, New Orleans Saints 14
*NFC Championship Game
How do you see this game playing out for the black and gold? Sound off below!