Saints playoff hopes, miraculously, still alive

NFL New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 02: Cameron Jordan #94 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates after making a sack with teammate Kwon Alexander #5 in the fourth quarter of the game against the Carolina Panthers at Caesars Superdome on January 02, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS, LA (KMSS/KTAL) – You name it, the New Orleans Saints have probably experienced it in 2021. Natural disaster? In August, the team was displaced from the city of New Orleans due to Hurricane Ida, practicing at TCU and using the Dallas Cowboys facilities while starting the season off hosting the Green Bay Packers… in Jacksonville. Injuries? The Saints have overcome losing Will Lutz, Michael Thomas, and Jameis Winston while starting 58 different players this year, an NFL record. COVID? The Saints won a game in which Head Coach Sean Payton did not coach due to the virus, shutting down division rival Tampa Bay, 9-0. They’ve also started four different quarterbacks, to varying results.

Through it all the Saints sit in Week 18, miraculously, with a chance at the postseason. And through all of the adversity the 2021 season has brought, the culture in the Saints organization might just get them there.

“We’ve had multiple players down with COVID, we’ve had half the team out with COVID,” said Saints defensive end Cam Jordan, who has seven and a half sacks through his last three games. “If we’re going to do anything, we’re going to stick together as a Saints locker room, as a Saints organization. I just feel like our leaders are so solid in this locker room that we’re built for adversity, we’re built to overcome adversity. So this is an adverse situation. It’s time to show what we’ve been built for.”

While that culture may carry the Saints to victory on Sunday (Sean Payton is 10-4 in his career on the road against the Atlanta Falcons), a win won’t be enough to carry the Saints to the postseason. They’ll also need some help from the Los Angeles Rams. A Rams win over the 49ers and a Saints win over the Falcons would send the Saints to Los Angeles next week. A 9-8 record with a chance to play upset over a team that Saints fans are still upset about themselves? Miraculous, indeed.

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