The Saints’ best shot at the playoffs is through Atlanta and the NFC South.
The Saints are currently behind Tampa Bay in the division. But a 10-6 record assumes to wins over the Buccaneers, so if we’re playing the hypothetical game the Buccs aren’t a threat. It’s the Falcons.
It’s the Falcons. They’d need to lose at least one game before their Week 17 meeting with the Saints. If they do, any game on their schedule, the Saints control their own destiny. That’s all they need, one loss.
The problem is the Falcons’ schedule. They play bad teams. The Chiefs next week, then the Rams, the 49ers, the Panthers, and finally the Saints. Maybe they can lose against KC. Maybe Carolina can pull off the upset. But it’s hard to imagine the Rams or the Niners unseating the offensive powerhouse that is Atlanta.
If the Falcons win out, and the Giants win two out of five, and any of the Redskins, Vikings, or Eagles win out, the Saints are out of the playoffs. No matter what they do with their remaining five games.
All that said, if the Saints finish 10-6 and miss the playoffs, I’d be okay. After consecutive 7-9 seasons, I just want to finish with a winning record. If 10-6 doesn’t get us into the playoffs, then so be it. I’m alright even with 9-7. Not thrilled, but alright.