If there's one thing the New Orleans Saints can take from Thursday Night Football, it's that the Saints may have more work cut out for them than we thought.
Coming into the 2023 NFL season, it was pretty much universally accepted that the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers were pretty much on a tier of their own in the NFC. You could always try to argue the Dallas Cowboys as well, but we've seen that movie plenty at this point. As far as the New Orleans Saints were concerned, they were seen as a bit of a sleeping giant that could make noise with Derek Carr in a "down" year for both the NFC, and especially the NFC South. At this point, it seems the Saints and their fans need to reflect on some things.
Going into week three, the Saints were 2-0, but in more of the 2000 Baltimore Ravens ilk in that their defense was carrying the crew. They then lost in collapsing fashion to the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau to fall to 2-1, with Carr falling to injury in the process.
Fast forward to Thursday Night Football in week four, and that loss was now looked at as being that much worse. The Detroit Lions were another team predicted to make noise in the NFC, and boy have they. They already beat the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead on opening night, and on Thursday Night, they steamrolled the Packers. The same team the Saints melted down against.
How does this reflect poorly on the Saints? Well, given how that game played out, and with Carr's injury, it's clear the Saints are a tier or two below where they should be at this present time within the landscape of the NFC. Sure, that can always change, we have a lot of ball to play after all, but at this point, work needs to be done.
It all starts in the trenches for the New Orleans Saints. The defense is elite, and with Alvin Kamara now back in the fold, if the offensive line can get their act together, whether it's Carr, Jameis Winston or even Taysom Hill playing quarterback, the Saints should be able to get where they need to go in the NFC. For now though, hopefully Thursday Night Football was a wake up call.