Here’s some good news regarding the Saints’ upcoming schedule
By Kristen Wong
The New Orleans Saints are officially out of the playoff picture, but there’s still reason to be optimistic heading into the final stretch of the season.
Taysom Hill is starting in Week 13 against the Dallas Cowboys, and he could be the offensive spark NOLA needs to get back on track. Trevor Siemian had his chance — hell, Sean Payton could even give Ian Book his.
Despite facing the NFC East-leading Cowboys on Thursday, New Orleans has a fairly easy schedule for the rest of the 2021 season. To be exact, they have the fourth-easiest schedule based on average DVOA of opponents.
After Week 13, the Saints will play these teams in order: the New York Jets, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Miami Dolphins, the Carolina Panthers, and finally, the Atlanta Falcons.
Four of those are sub .500 teams, and while the Saints, too, have a losing record, their roster has a bit more upside and an experienced coach to boot.
Aside from Brady’s Bucs, the Saints could reasonably win the other four games and still make a last-second desperate postseason push.
New Orleans Saints have a much easier slate of games for the rest of 2021
What won’t make Saints fans too happy is the fact that the Buccaneers have the second-easiest NFL schedule.
That all but ensures Tampa Bay taking first place in the NFC South and gaining an automatic playoff berth.
The Saints would do well to focus on their own, quickly regressing team form, though. NOLA got their rears handed to them in a crushing loss against the Bills on Thanksgiving, marking their fourth straight loss.
By demoting Siemian and appointing Hill as the starter, coach Sean Payton at least shows some flexibility and willingness to make drastic changes — after all, desperate times call for desperate measures.
And how bad could Hill be? We’ve already seen some very unwatchable Saints football with Siemian at center, so it’s hard to imagine Hill tanking the Saints any more than they already have.
In any case, New Orleans’ future matchups shine a very dim light at the end of the tunnel. The Saints may yet salvage their season (and their pride) at the cost of higher draft picks.