Saints: Is it time to worry about the lack of wins against good teams?


Besides the Panthers, teams with winning records and playoff resumes have given the Saints massive trouble in 2017. Is that going to be a problem?

As Week 14 winds down, the NFL playoff picture for each conference has become much clearer. The Saints, who started the week off in Atlanta against the Falcons, didn’t have their position changed at all for the conference playoffs and divisional lead.

With the Vikings and Rams losing, and the Eagles winning, the teams in front of the Saints shuffled around a bit. New Orleans will most likely have to sit back and hope all three end the season poorly, as the Saints have lost to both the Rams and Vikings.

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That’s the thing, too. Losing to Minnesota to open the year, and Los Angles to end the 8-game win streak, have put the Saints in an awkward position. Combine those losses with their Week 2 defeat against New England and Thursday’s loss at Atlanta. You now have a Saints team who has yet to beat a playoff team outside of the Panthers. Despite playing four different great teams.

Of New Orleans’ seven other wins, all have come against teams currently outside of the playoffs. That doesn’t count the Bills, who are hanging on for dear life in the much weaker AFC. Over half of those teams are below .500, as well. With three games to go, two will be against teams who are either outside of the playoffs or completely eliminated from them. And neither will achieve a winning year in 2017 (Jets and Buccaneers).

Lack of impressive wins

That means, the Saints could go into the playoffs at 11-5, but winless against teams who actually made the playoffs, if Atlanta were to get in instead of Carolina. Does that worry anyone?

In the playoffs, the only teams the Saints will face are, you guessed it, chock full of playoff-worthy talent. The teams will be offensively versatile, like the Rams. They will also be hard nosed on defense, like the Vikings and Eagles. Throw in Atlanta, who could sweep New Orleans in Week 16, and either Carolina or Seattle, who have the ability to give any team fits, especially the Saints.

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This Saints team has looked impressive, and has played extremely well in 2017. A few shutouts, some intense comebacks; all have led to a 9-4 record, one of the best in the league.

But, looking closer at the wins and losses, the true extent of how great this team is remains unknown. Week 16 against the Falcons, in New Orleans, will be a great indicator of the true 2017 Saints, and will show us how capable they will be of winning come playoff time.