It used to be that a record of 8-8 or 9-7 was good enough to get a team into the NFL playoffs, but that has since changed. On average, teams are winning 10 or 11 or even 14 games every season, but not this year. Sure, there are a couple teams ahead of the whole pack, but the mediocre teams are clouding up the NFC, and that means the New Orleans Saints are still in the hunt.
Yes, even with a record of 5-8 and sitting dead last in the NFC South, the Saints are not mathematically eliminated. They could get into the playoffs, but they will need to do a lot on their own and also get a lot of help.
As CBS Sports shows as of Tuesday evening, there are only two teams officially eliminated from playoff contention in the NFC — the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers. The other 14 teams are still in it and can essentially take one of the remaining four spots open.
New Orleans is currently sitting 12th in the NFC, with a record of 5-8, and can make it to 8-8 by winning out. Their remaining games are home against the Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars, and then finish the season at the Atlanta Falcons.
The Lions are 4-9, the Jaguars are 5-8, and the Falcons are 6-7, having lost the last six games in a row. New Orleans has also already beaten Atlanta once this season.
Now, if the Saints win out, they will be 8-8 and that’s one thing they need to do to help their chances at a shot in the playoffs. The other things they would need is a lot of help from a number of teams in the NFC, per My AJC.
Here is what else is needed for the Saints to get in, but that’s if they end up 8-8.
St. Louis Rams
- Rams must lose one time
- Remaining opponents: Buccaneers, Seahawks, 49ers
- Vikes must lose three times
- Remaining opponents: Bears, Giants, Packers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Remaining opponents: Rams, Bears, Panthers
- If they beat the Panthers, Bucs need to lose other two
- If they lose to the Panthers, the other two games won’t matter
- Involved: Eagles, Giants, Redskins
- If two teams end up 9-7, the Saints are eliminated
- If the second-place team is 7-9, the Saints will be in.
- If the second place team is 8-8, the Saints win a tiebreaker over the Eagles but lose the tiebreaker to the Redskins and Giants
So, the New Orleans Saints need so much help to get into the playoffs this year, but they can only control certain things. All the Saints can do is just head out onto the field and win their final three games and hope that everything else falls into place.
The Detroit Lions have had an up-and-down season, but the Saints will need to focus on stopping Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. They’re a dangerous wide receiver combination and can hurt a team in a hurry.
As for the Jacksonville Jaguars, they’re a team that can have nothing work for them one week but dominate the next. This past weekend, they absolutely decimated the Indianapolis Colts in a 51-16 rout.
The Atlanta Falcons started out hot with a 6-1 record, and have now completely fallen apart. Their first loss of the season happened to be against the Saints back in mid-October, when New Orleans put up a shocking 31-21 victory.
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have had a season they may wish to forget, but it’s not quite over yet. The 2015 NFL playoffs are still in reach and help is needed, but all the Saints can do is win out and see what happens.
[Image by Chris Graythen/Getty Images]